Jan 072016
 

Synopsyllus estradei is a species of Siphonaptera from Pulicidae family, identified for the first time in Madagascar by professor J. M. Klein in 1964. The prepared slide is from MNHN, Paris collection.

This species was collected in a nest identified probably as a nest of Eliurus (rodent in the family of Nesomyidae).

 

At the time of discovery of this new species, it was the third species of Synopsyllus known :

  1. Synopsyllus fonquerniei (on Ratus ratus)
  2. Synopsyllus smiti (on Macrotarsomys ingens)
  3. Synopsyllus estradei (probable on Eliurus sp.)
  4. Synopsyllus robici (discovered after S. estradei)
  5. Synopsyllus girardi (discovered after S. estradei)

Publication of the description of the species available on the net :

UNE NOUVELLE ESPECE DE SYNOPSYLLUS (INSECTA, SIPHONAPTERA) DE LA FORET ORIENTALE DE MADAGASCAR, S. estradei par J. M. KLEIN (Bulletin de la Société de Pathologie exotique. Extrait du tome 57, no I, Janvier-Février 1964)

The genus Synopsyllus has been first described by Wagner and Roubaud, in 1932. It is characterised by :

  • Metasternum and metepisternum fully fused without vestigial suture (this is also the case for Synosternus Jordan, 1925),
  • Anterior occipital seta (not present in Synosternus),
  • Spermatheca has much bigger size than the one of Synosternus.

The spermatheca of Synopsyllus estradei is anyway quite different from the other species of Synopsyllus.

The new species was dedicated to Mr. Dr. F. ESTRADE Chief Director of Hygiene and Prevention  (SGHMP) and Director of the Institute of Social Hygiene of the Malagasy Republic.

You have on the following link a comparison with related genera Synosternus. I promise I will explain more in details in future, what means exactly fusion of metasternum and metepisternum, which could sound really esoteric for most of people !

I hope you will apppreciate the beauty of these photos ?

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Dec 262015
 

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.

Morphology

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

Hosts

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.

Distribution

It seems to have a very wide distribution from Northern Africa (Mauritania, Morocco, Algeria, Tunesia…) until Central Asia.

Diseases

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.

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Dec 012015
 

Hello world, here is a male of Spilopsyllus cuniculi, which is simply the flea of the rabbit ! This flea is belonging to the family of Pulicidae. As other Siphonaptera, it is an ectoparasite generally found in the animal fur. One can find many information on the net on this species, but few photos for precise identification.

Spilopsyllus cuniculi (Dale, 1878) is belonging to the sub-family of Spilopsyllinae : Pulicidae with symetrical antennae.

Anatomy

  • This species has a caracteristic frontal tubercle on the frons.
  • The genal comb has 4-6 blunt spines.
  • The pronotal comb has 12-17 spines.

The types of the species are probably lost.

 

Synonyms for the species

  • Pulex cuniculi
  • Pulex goniocephalus
  • Ceratophyllus leporis

Hosts

  • Main hosts : Oryctolagus cuniculus (rabbit)
  • Secondary host : Lepus europaeus (hare)
  • Occasionnal host : Vulpes vulpes, Felix catus, Canis familiaris, Lepus hibernicus, Apodemus sylvaticus, Clethrionomys glareolus, Arvicola terrestris, Lutra lutra, Martes foina, Martes martes, Mustela nivalis, Mustela putorius, Meles meles, Ratus norvegicus, Sus scrofa, Homo sapiens…

As mentionned, Spilopsyllus cuniculi has been found occasionnally on a very wide variety of hosts. It is also observed on certain seabirds that nest in burrows.

Distribution

  • As it is the primary host of the rabbit, its distribution follows distribution of it (Oryctolagus cuniculus). For this reason this flea is found worldwide.
  • Oryctolagus cuniculus may have been introduced in its domestic form and thus non parasitised in some parts of the world (Islands…).

Diseases

  • Rabbit flea is a vector of myxomatosis and Trypanosoma nabiasi.
  • Spilopsyllus cuniculi is also parasitised with several species of Tylenchida (an order of Nematodes). Tylenchida are then parasites of parasite…

Have you ever heard about this nursery rhyme which illustrates pretty well the parasite of parasite ?

Big fleas have little fleas, Upon their backs to bite ’em,

And little fleas have lesser fleas, and so, ad infinitum…

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Oct 152015
 
Doratopsylla dasycnema cuspis - female - flea of the shrew

Hello world, here is a female of Doratopsylla dasycnema cuspis, which can be considered as the flea of the common shrew (Sorex araneus) ! This flea is belonging to the family of Ctenophtalmidae. Doratopsylla dasycnema cuspis Rothschild, 1915 is considered as a valid subspecies (cf Fauna Europea). The types are located at the British Museum […]

Sep 252015
 
Ceratophyllus (Ceratophyllus) hirundinis - the flea of the house martin

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 […]

Jul 302015
 
Columbicola columbae - slender pigeon lice

Slender pigeon lice are primarily found in the feathers on wings of pigeons. It is the typical parasite for Columba livia, but many other types of lice can be found on it. Here are again remarquable photos from Paul Leroy of this very common parasite. This species is belonging to the family of Philopteridae. With […]

Jun 012015
 
Pthirus inguinalis (Linnaeus, 1758)

Our dear Linnaeus first described this species under the name Pediculus pubis. The first question I ask to myself is a little bit disrespectful towards our dear Linnaeus : where did he found his first Pediculus pubis ? You do not know ? Ok, maybe you do not know at all, where usually lives Pthirus […]

May 272015
 
Chaetopsylla (Chaetopsylla) trichosa Kohaut, 1903

Chaetopsylla trichosa is a member of the Vermipsyllidae and can be found on badgers (Meles meles) and fox (Vulpes vulpes). It is never abundant on its hosts, as compared to Chaetopsylla globiceps or Chaetopsylla homoea. It is rare or absent on mountains, it prefers low altitude. Strange ? Don’t you think so ? This species […]