Order Siphonoptera


The fleas are small, wingless insects that live as parasites on the bodies of animals. Adult fleas have piercing-sucking mouthparts and the larvae chewing mouthparts. Their metamorphosis is complete, the life stages being the egg, larva, pupa, and adult. The larvae resemble small maggots and live in the soil or near the bedding of their hosts. The best way to collect fleas is to dust pyrethrum powder on a dog or cat and hold the animal over a white cloth or paper. The fleas will drop off and can be picked up.

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Family: Pulicidae

Subfamily: Archaeopsyllinae

Ctenocephalides felis (Bouche) - Cat Flea

Habitat: Pest of domestic pets and livestock, most common household pest.

Family: Pulicidae

Subfamily: Pulicinae

Pulex irritans (Linnaeus) - Human Flea

Habitat: Infests a broad range of hosts, including man, domestic animals, poultry and coyotes.

Family Vermipsyllidae

Chaetopsylla lotoris (Stewart) - Racoon Flea

Habitat: Common only on racoons, easily collected from recently killed racoons.

**most of the images included in these pages are from the 'Insects in Kansas' Book. They are freely available for student and noncommercial use (according to their copyright agreement with each photographer) at the PDIS image site, http://www.pdis.org/default.aspx

For additional information on siphonaptera, please check out the following website: