Sep 252015

I am sorry for the kind swallows and martins, but I find this flea particularly sympathetic, for unknown reasons…

This Ceratophyllus (Ceratophyllus) hirundinis species proudly displays a genal and a pronotal comb (see glossary on fleas). It is obviously part of the Ceratophyllidae family.

It is very common on the house martin (Delichon urbica), but can also be found on barn swallow (Hirundo rustica), on sand martin (Riparia riparia), Columba livia, Passer domesticus, Gallus domesticus, Ptyonoprogne rupestris and even… Homo sapiens !

It can be found in very different types of habitats, except strangely, in Great Britain, where the flea seems nearly only found in nests under eaves, according to Professor Beaucournu. If you find counter examples, please let us know !

The types of the species are probably lost, taking into account that it was first described by Curtis in 1826.

If you want to determine the species, the shown photographs will not be enough, a detailed examination of the genital parts is necessary (clasper, spermatheca,…).

Big thank again to Paul Leroy for the great mount and photos !


Sep 222015

Hello all,

I am happy to present you a new type of parasite for ! I have not presented yet any Diptera… here is the first one !

Lipoptena cervi, the deer fly, is a species of biting fly in the family of Hippoboscidae. These flies are very commonly encountered in Europe, Siberia and China. It has been also introduced to several other countries. They can fly on very short distances (from one animal to the other) and shed their wings once their are on their final host. They are sucking the blood of their hosts. For this reason they can be a vector of diseases.

Different types of hosts : deer, moose, reindeer and occasionnaly can bite human or dog.

These photos shows greatly the sexual dimorphism of the species. The female produces a larva but keeps it until the pupa is ready. The larva feeds inside the female body on a milk gland. How surprising can be Mother Nature with insects which look like mamalian like the famous kangoroo !

A deer fly bite is said to be quite painful. I do not therefore wish you to meet these flies ! But if you happen to find some, see here !


Sep 082015

I am back with another mount from the collection of National Museum of Natural History in Paris. The shown slide has the following references :

  • Name of species : Pterygosoma rubi (not valid)
  • Name of host : Agama atricolis (quoted with one “l” for atricollis on the slide)
  • Locality : Bukavu (Democratic Republic of Congo)
  • Reference of slide : 8F7
  • From the medical laboratory of Kivu

First of all, Agama atricollis is now a synonym of Acanthocercus atricollis. It is an Agamid lizard living in South East of Africa (South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Malawi…).

Secondly, Pterygosoma rubi is not currently a valid species. After interrogation of Michel Bertrand, a French acarologist who studies Pterygosomatidae, it seems that the illustrated species is rather Pterygosoma transvaalense described by Lawrence in 1935. This is the only known parasiting mite of Acanthocercus atricollis. New species of Pterygosomatidae are still being discovered on reptiles.

I propose you another example of Pterygosomatidae with Zonurobia circularis.

If you happen to collect such parasites on lizards, Agamidae, or other reptiles, we would be happy to receive some samples for identification and photography.

Thanks again to the NMNH in Paris !


Sep 022015

Hello world,

We are back after a period of vacations. We took advantage of the vacations to visit the famous National Museum of Natural History in Paris. At this occasion, with the kind permission of NMNH (MNHN of Paris in French), with took some photographs of forgotten treasures…

To start with a serie of specimens directly from the collection of NMNH in Paris, here is Asca squamulata, firstly described by Athias-Henriot in 1961.

This mount is of great interest, because it shows a syntype of Asca squamulata. As you may know, a snytype is quoted in the first description of a new species, in other words in the protolog of the species.

We hope you will appreciate this species from the Ascidae family.

We warmly thank NMNH in Paris and Mark Judson for allowing us visiting the collections.