Flea

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Ceratophyllomorpha
Hystrichopsyllomorpha
Pulicomorpha
Pygiopsyllomorpha

Aphaniptera

Flea is the common name for insects of the order Siphonaptera which are wingless insects with mouthparts adapted for piercing skin and sucking blood. Fleas are external parasites, living by hematophagy off the blood of mammals (including bats and humans) and birds.

Some flea species include:

Over 2,000 species have been described worldwide.[2]

Contents

Morphology and behavior

Fleas are small (1/16 to 1/8-inch (1.5 to 3.3 mm) long), agile, usually dark colored (for example, the reddish-brown of the cat flea), wingless insects with tube-like mouth-parts adapted to feeding on the blood of their hosts. Their legs are long, the hind pair well adapted for jumping: a flea can jump vertically up to 7 inches (18 cm) and horizontally up to 13 inches (33 cm).[3] This is around 200 times their own body length, making the flea one of the best jumpers of all known animals (relative to body size), second only to the froghopper. Their bodies are laterally compressed (human anatomical terms), permitting easy movement through the hairs or feathers on the host's body (or in the case of humans, under clothing). The flea body is hard, polished, and covered with many hairs and short spines directed backward,[4] which also assist its movements on the host. The tough body is able to withstand great pressure, likely an adaptation to survive attempts to eliminate them by mashing or scratching. Even hard squeezing between the fingers is normally insufficient to kill a flea. It is possible to eliminate them by pressing individual fleas with adhesive tape or softened beeswax (or "cheese" wax) or by rolling a flea briskly between the fingers to disable it then crushing it between the fingernails. Fleas also can be drowned in water and may not survive direct contact with anti-flea pesticides.

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