DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of Sticktight or hen flea (Echidnophaga gallinacea). This flea attaches firmly to its host, often causing ulcers. The female flea remains attached for the rest of her life, sucking blood and laying eggs in the ulcers. Larvae hatch and go through a life cycle similar to that of the cat flea. The larvae fall off the host, then pupate and collect in the environment, where they can infect other animals. The sticktight flea attacks poultry, cats, dogs, and many other mammals, including humans. While sticktight fleas are not known to transmit any diseases, their attachment can lead to skin infections, ulceration, anaemia and even death.
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