STEVE GSCHMEISSNER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY STEVE GSCHMEISSNER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Cat flea. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of a cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis) seen from the front. Its body is laterally-flattened to allow it to move easily through the fur of its cat host. The flea's antennae (red) can be withdrawn into its head. Comb-like spines on the head, called ctenidia, help to anchor the flea in the fur of its host. The mandibles (not clearly seen) are modified to pierce the skin and suck blood. Fleas have three pairs of legs, with the long hindlegs adapted for jumping. Most fleas remain on their host only while feeding. Magnification unknown.
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