Cat flea, SEM

Cat flea, SEM

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Credit: VOLKER STEGER/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Cat flea. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of a cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis). The head (top) is helmet-shaped to assist the flea when moving through the fur of its cat host. The body is also laterally flattened for this purpose. Comb-like spines, called ctenidia, anchor the flea in its host's fur. One of the small rounded eyes (blue) is visible, but the antennae are secreted into grooves behind the eyes. At the front of the head are sensory palps (yellow) and the mandibles (red), which are modified to pierce the skin and suck blood. Most fleas remain on their host only while feeding.

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Keywords: animal, blood sucker, blood-feeder, blood-feeding, cat flea, coloured, ctenocephalides felis, entomology, haematophagous, head, insect, insecta, invertebrate, invertebrates, nature, parasite, parasitic, sanguivore, sanguivorous, scanning electron micrograph, sem, vertical, wildlife, zoology

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