Human fleas

Human fleas

Out of 2000 species in the world, and over 200 in US, only one species, called Pulex Irritans, lives on the blood of humans, and can live on human. Fleas’ bodies are laterally compressed and covered with many hairs and short spines directed backwards, which permits them to move easily through the hairs on the host’s body. That means that they are shaped to live in the hairiest parts of the host. You guessed correctly, the only flea that can live on humans, lives in our hair.

There are over 1,600 species and subspecies of fleas that inhabit the earth’s diverse environment. Many of these fleas are parasites in the insect order Siphonaptera. Pulex irritans, also called the human flea, is not often seen in contemporary living quarters, but in the past this flea came in contact with all classes of people. 

Human blood is the preferred food of Pulex irritans, but it will feed on other mammals. Today, this species is most often found on pigs. Individuals that work with swine are some of the most likely people to become infested.

In societies where personal hygiene is important, infestations by human fleas are not as common.  Human fleas were extremely common before the development of modern standards in both hygiene and laundering.

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