POWER AND SYRED / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY POWER AND SYRED / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Fleas mating. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of two fleas (Ceratophyllus farrieni) mating. The male, positioned beneath the female, grips the female using specialised suction pads on his antennae, and with genital claspers. This prevents the female from escaping and allows him to insert his penis. Mating can last several hours during which the male will 'stroke' the female with abdominal bristles to subdue her. Fleas (order: Siphonaptera) are small, wingless, blood sucking insects that parasitize a variety of mammals and birds. The species shown here feeds on the blood of the house martin (Delichon urbica). Magnification: x40 at 10cm wide.
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