With a certain emotion, I present you today a prepared slide of N. C. Rothschild done in 1911. This prepared slide is extracted from MNHN collection, Paris.
If you are wondering who was Nathaniel Charles Rothschild please consult Wikipedia.
As it is an ancient prepared slide, obviously the quality is slightly different, but it remains a very good one. Canada Balsam is a real permanent mounting media, slides can survive centuries in such media.
The current flea is Synosternus pallidus male, parasite found on squirrels in Soudan. Synosternus pallidus was firstly described by Taschenberg in 1880 !
Types are deposited at BMNH. This species belongs to the Pulicidae family.
One of its characteristic is to have segment IV of tasus III, as long as large, as you can see it on the last picture here under.
Synonyms for the species
- Pulex pallidus
- Xenopsylla pallidus
- Synosternus pallidus infestus
It seems that hosts specificity is not that clear for Synosternus pallidus. Unless found in desertic environment, it is not a Gerbillid flea according to Professor Beaucournu. Klein (1975) and Lewis (1982) consider that primary host would be Paraechinus (desert hedgehog). Synosternus pallidus can be found in hen houses, can bite occasionnaly human, dogs and cats.
Professor Beaucournu identified this species on Jackal (Canis aureus), hare (Lepus), fennec (Fenecus zerda) and fox (Vulpes vulpes). It seems to be frequent on Canidae, like Archaeopsylla erinacei in Europe.
It seems to have a very wide distribution from Northern Africa (Mauritania, Morocco, Algeria, Tunesia…) until Central Asia.
Last but not least, this species would be a very good vector of pest !
My thanks goes to Emmanuel Delfosse and Christophe Daugeron from MNHN, Paris.