MARILYN SCHALLER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MARILYN SCHALLER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
False-colour scanning electron micrograph of the dog flea, Ctenocephalides canis. The head bears rows of spines called ctenidia and two eyes which are simply photosensitive spots. Behind each eye is a short antenna which is recessed into the head. The third pair of legs is well developed for leaping on and off the host, and the body is laterally compressed with a glossy surface to allow easy movement through hair. Both sexes are bloodsuckers but only the adults are parasitic. The larvae feed on debris and the faeces of adult fleas. This flea can act as the intermediate host of the dog and cat tapeworm Dipylidium caninum. Magnification: x27 at 6x7cm size.
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