Fleas represent one of the most important external parasites. At the moment there are more than 2,500 described species and subspecies throughout the world (Durden et al., 2005; Medvedev, 1998).
Fleas are wingless insects with a laterally compressed body of about 1.5-4 mm length. Like all insects, they possess six legs and three body segments.
Fleas have a history of about 60 million years and have been found on prehistoric mammals. While becoming parasitic, the original exterior of the two-wing insects, designating them to the order Diptera, has been changed as the wings in the adults were lost, whereas the larval form still has similarity with the larva of the order (Strenger, 1973).
About 95% of the flea species parasitize on mammals, 5% live on birds.
Fleas are taxonomically grouped in the order Siphonaptera (Tenter and Schnieder, 2006), containing several families. The most important veterinary and human species belong to the families Pulicidae, including Pulex spp., Ctenocephalides spp., Spilopsyllus spp. and Archaeopsyllus spp., and Ceratophyllidae with the genera Ceratophyllus or Nosopsyllus.
Taxonomy of fleas of veterinary importance
|Genus:||Ctenocephalides, Pulex, |
|Ceratophyllus, Nosopsyllus etc.|
|Species:||Ctenocephalides felis |
|Ceratophyllus gallinae |
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