Flea circus

Flea circus

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This image is part of the feature Flea Circus

Credit: VOLKER STEGER/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Flea circus. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of a human flea (Pulex irritans) "juggling" a slice of pith. The flea is a performer in Hans Mathes' Flea Circus, where trained fleas perform a range of tricks and stunts. This flea is a "juggler". A wire loop harness (blue) is secured over its head and behind its front legs. The harnessed flea clings to a slice of fruit pith (brown, lower right). When its legs contact the pith, it walks along the edge in a reflex action. The pith turns and appears to be juggled by the flea. The circus performs to audiences at the Munich Oktoberfest in Germany, for two weeks a year. Magnification unknown.

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Keywords: animal, athlete, athletic, blood-sucking, circus, coloured, ectoparasite, entertainment, female, germany, hans mathes, harnessed, human flea, insect, insecta, invertebrate, invertebrates, juggler, juggling, munich, nature, oktoberfest, parasite, performer, performing, pith, pulex irritans, rotating, scanning electron micrograph, sem, side-show, trained, turning, wildlife, wire loop, zoology

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