Denizens of the invisible empire


Fleas are wingless insects that are found all over the world as parasites of warm-blooded animals. They are flattened from side-to-side, have claws on their feet, and have powerful jumping hind legs, making them ideal for escaping through hair and fur. Fleas can jump up to 150 times their own body length! Fleas eat by piercing the skin with their mouthparts and sucking blood. They have been known to be carriers of diseases such as typhus and bubonic plague. Some pets and humans are allergic to fleas. Fleas are attracted by certain skin secretions and carbon dioxide, so some people are more attractive to fleas than others!

Here in Hawaii the most common flea is the cat flea -- even on dogs! This image of a flea shows the eye (red), antenna (green), genal comb (looks like a moustache) and palps (sticking forward off the front).

The Hawaiian called fleas uku lele, or jumping bug. The musical instrument ukulele was named after the fast jumping movement of the fingers used to play it.

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Mosquito    Darth Termite    Roach    Bedbug    Roach Too
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Copyright © 1996-2000 Tina (Weatherby) Carvalho...MicroAngela
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