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Head lice information


The anoplura: these insects are the sucking lice which attack mammals, and mammals only. They are small, wingless insects from about one twenty-fifth to one-fourth of an inch in length, and with mouth-parts for sucking. The head is usually rather pointed in front and is often joined to the thorax by a distinct neck which permits its free movement. The distinc?tion between thorax and abdomen is less evident, the constriction there being practically non-existent.

The legs, which join the thorax well out on its sides, are constructed for climbing and grasping, and each ends in a single claw, so placed with reference to the rest of the leg that it can tightly grasp a hair, the claw on one side and the tibia on the other. The eyes are rudimentary or absent in some cases.

The group may be defined as: Small, wingless insects with sucking mouth-parts, feeding on the blood of mammals. Eyes present or absent. Tarsi each with one claw. Metamorphosis incomplete.

Anoplura occur on man, monkeys, domestic animals, rats, mice, rabbits, squirrels, the elephant, etc., and one genus is found on the seal. The mouth consists of a flexible proboscis which may be drawn in or pushed out, turning inside out as it goes and exposing some chitinous hooks which attach themselves to the skin of the host.

Lodged in the head are two long, slender, sharp-pointed structures called stabbers, so placed as to form a canal between them through which saliva may be injected into the wound they make. These stabbers are forced through the skin within the area encircled by the proboscis, saliva is forced into the wound and after a few moments feeding begins, the blood of the host being pumped into the body of the louse.