STEVE LOWRY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY STEVE LOWRY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Light micrograph of a female human flea (Pulex irritans). Despite its name it is not confined to humans but is also found on many species of birds and mammals, most commonly on pigs. Fleas are insects in the Order Siphonaptera with laterally flattened bodies. They have long legs with large coxae and are adapted for jumping. Fleas have piercing and sucking mouthparts and feed on blood. Flea bites often produce an itch which may be painful, bleeding may occur from the puncture site. Human fleas may occasionally act as vectors for diseases such as plague, a bacterial infection caused by Yersinia pestis, and murine typhus (Rickettsia typhi). Magnification: x14 at 10cm wide.
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