STEVE GSCHMEISSNER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY STEVE GSCHMEISSNER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Head louse. Scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of the head and thorax of a human head louse (Pediculus humanus capitis) clinging to a strand of human hair. It ranges in size from 2 to 3 millimetres in length. Each of its six legs end in a claw (as seen at lower left). These claws are used to grasp the shaft of a hair, and as such render the louse unable to jump. An infestation causes itching due to an allergic reaction to louse saliva, and if not treated can lead to fever and secondary infections. Magnification: x15 when printed 10cm wide.
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