Lice(Phthiraptera) | Characteristics, Habitat and Amazing Facts

Name - Lice

Scientific Name : Phthiraptera

Type : parasitic/Insects

Diet : tiny amounts of blood

Physical Characteristics:

 Colour : tan to greyish-white

Skin Type : fade skull skin

Lifespan : 30 Days

Current Population : millions

Location : Worldwide

Number Of Species :  5000


Main Prey : animals  birds and human 

Habitat : hair and skin of living beings

Favourite Food : blood

Amazing Facts

  • There are two major kinds of lice in the Phthiraptera order. This are the most common biting lice found on birds, and the sucking lice most commonly found on mammals.
  • Their mouthpieces are adapted for chewing, and they suck away bits of flesh, secretions of skin, feathers, and fur. Few species feed on host blood, particularly from established wounds.
  • Biting lice rarely have a harmful effect on their hosts. However, conditions in humans, such as chicken farms, may arise in significant numbers. They can cause a lot of frustration to farmed birds in those conditions, causing them to itch a lot. Birds can then have skin infections due to the sore skin.
  • About any animal species can be infested with a sucking lousine-even the seals and walruses! These ‘sea lice’ all belong to the Echinophthiriidae tribe, and may live under water for a long time by dragging a layer of air down with them between their specially adapted body hair, or by breathing air caught in the host’s body hair.
  • One of the best known lice is Pediculus humanus – the human louse – which has two distinct races. The race capitismay be found in the hair on the head, and their eggs, stuck to hairs, are termed nits. These can be very difficult and time consuming to remove – this is where the term ‘nit-picking’ came from.
  • Lousine-borne illness is especially prevalent in warfare, where troops are forced to live in cramped and unsanitary environments. Trench fever (Rickettsia quintana) was particularly common during the First World War and was potentially a significant factor in the final defeat of the Russian army.
  • There are around 5,000 known species worldwide, divided into 26 families. In Europe, there are some 500 species of biting lice and 50 species of sucking lice.

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