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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Jun 152015
 

Have you ever seen such a perfect microphotography of a tick ? This is the astonishing work of Paul Leroy again. Here is a female of Ixodes ricinus, commonly called the castor bean tick, this name sounds funny for the French speaking guy I am…

This tick has a very large distribution in Eurasia and is probably the most common tick found on people.

A female fasting tick has usually a size of 4 mm. The scutum is globally rouded, and slightly longer than large, as you can see on the photo. The posterior margin of the body is largely rounded, which gives this typical shape of castor bean (castor seed is a better appropriated term).

Each pair of coxa has an external short spur. The coxae I have a long internal spur. Coxae I are syncoxae, but the striated half posterior part is slightly visible.

Ixodes ricinus is an ubiquitous triphasic tick. It feeds on a wide variety of vertebrate hosts and is a vector of numerous pathogens (Flavivirus, Borrelia, Babesia, Rickettsia, Anaplasma, Louping ill,…).

Enjoy this outstanding photography, it looks like a very good color drawing !

 

 

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Jun 082015
 
Haemaphysalis punctata male

Hello world, Here is a ventral view of a male of Haemaphysalis punctata. This tick is widespread in Europe but can be found also in central Asia. The male has very long internal spurs on the coxas IV, as you can notice on the enclosed remarquable photo done by Paul Leroy. The tick shown appears […]

May 052015
 
Leptopsylla (Leptopsylla) segnis - the mouse flea

It is a pity that when you search at information on a specific species on the Internet, you always step on sites about biodiversity, giving only the scientific name and no information at all on the species… Sometimes very scarce information can be found when the parasite is a vector of specific diseases.   Our […]