Fleas and Ticks
‘Flea’ is the common name for insects of the order Siphonaptera, which are wingless insects with tube-like mouth-parts adapted for piercing skin and sucking blood.
Fleas are small (1/16 to 1/8 inch), agile and usually dark colored. Their legs are long; the hind pair well adapted for jumping. A flea can jump vertically up to 7 inches and horizontally up to 13 inches. This is 200 times their own body length.
Fleas have four life cycle stages: egg, larva, pupa and imago (adult). Eggs are laid in batches up to 20 or so (consisting of 40-60 eggs) per day and take around two days to two weeks to hatch.
In order for fleas to thrive, they must have a blood meal but can live without the blood meal up to one week.
‘Tick’ is the common name for a small arachnid in the super-family Ixodoidea. Ticks are external parasites, living by “hematophagy” — by feeding on the blood of mammals. They may often be found in tall grass where they will wait, then attach to a passing host animal.
Ticks can carry of a number of diseases dangerous to humans and animals, including Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.
Photo at the right shows a tick engorged with blood.
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