K. H. KJELDSEN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY K. H. KJELDSEN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Cat flea pupa. Coloured scanning electron micro- graph (SEM) of a mature cat flea pupa inside a thin membranous skin. The cat flea Ctenocephalides felis is a small, wingless, blood-sucking insect. Its eggs, larvae and pupae develop entirely off the host, often on the ground where the cat sleeps. The maggot-like larvae feed on organic debris, favouring the faeces of adult fleas, which are rich in undigested blood. After moulting twice they spin woolly cocoons in which the pupae metamorphose into adults. The adults also spend most of their lives on the ground, using powerful spring pads in their hind legs to leap onto approaching cats. Magnification unknown.
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