Coloured SEM of the head of a cat flea, C. felis

Coloured SEM of the head of a cat flea, C. felis

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This image is part of the feature Body Parasites

Credit: DAVID SCHARF/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Cat flea. Coloured Scanning Electron Micrograph (SEM) of the head of a cat flea Ctenocephalides felis, seen from the front. At top, the head is helmet-shaped to assist the flea to cut a path through the fur of its cat host. The body is also laterally flattened for this purpose. A pair of small rounded eyes are visible, as are antennae which can be withdrawn into grooves on the head. The comb-like head spines, called ctenidia, anchor the flea in the fur of its host. The mandibles are modified to pierce the skin and suck blood. A pair of forelegs are seen; the hindlegs are adapted for jumping. Most fleas remain on the host only while feeding. Magnification: x70 at 6x7cm size. x125 at 4x5

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Keywords: animal, blood sucker, cat, cat flea, ctenocephalides felis, entomology, flea, insect, insecta, invertebrate, invertebrates, nature, scanning electron micrograph, sem, wildlife, zoology

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