K. H. KJELDSEN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY K. H. KJELDSEN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Cat flea. Scanning electron micrograph of a cat flea sucking blood from the skin of its host. The specialised, piercing stylet can be seen entering the skin. The cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis) is a small, wingless, blood-sucking insect. Its laterally compressed body and glossy cuticle enable it to move easily through dense fur, while the backward-pointing spines on its head and back prevent it from falling out. Powerful spring pads in the hind legs enable the flea to leap onto the host from the ground, where it spends most of its life. Adults feed intermittently and can survive for up to six months between meals. Magnification unknown.
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