STEVE GSCHMEISSNER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY STEVE GSCHMEISSNER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Rabbit flea (Spilopsyllus cuniculi), coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM). The two structures protruding from the centre of the flea's head (far left) are sensory palps. Below these are the mouthparts (not clearly seen), which pierce the skin to enable the flea to suck the blood of its host. Comb-like spines, called ctenidia, anchor the flea in its host's fur. The powerful legs (running vertically down from centre) are adapted for jumping. Fleas are external parasites that may carry and transmit diseases. This flea may also feed on pets and humans. Fleas only remain on their host whilst feeding. Magnification: x120 when printed 10 centimetres wide.
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