Fun Facts About Fleas
Fleas are extremely small and hard to see. They measure between 1/16 up to 1/8 of an inch in length.
Their bodies are laterally flat with a hard exoskeleton and plates called slcerites containing coarse bristles facing backward to help them navigate through hair, fur and feathers of hosts.
Fleas cannot fly, because they have no wings. They may appear to fly at times since they can jump considerable distances due to a protein structure on their hind legs called resilin. They use this resilin protein to store energy and spring much like the string on a hunter's bow used to sling or catapult arrows.
Adult fleas survive from the blood of their host or animal. Their strange mouth like opening has a chemical in the saliva that breaks down the skin or hide of the host so that it can drink the blood.
In any flea population, about 5% of the flea population on a host are adults, where as the remaining 95% exist as a combination of eggs, larvae and pupae.
Fleas pupae are designed with an incredible sensory mechanism that helps them to emerge when a potential host is nearby: somehow, when the temperature is right, humidity is optimal, and the presence of a potential host by the presence of Carbon Dioxide, pressure and vibration occur, they emerge as adult fleas from the pupa stage.
Larval fleas are blind. They simply have a unique mouth-like gap for eating feces of other fleas, hair or skin of a host or any other organic materials they can latch onto. They cannot yet drink blood from a host during this stage.
During the pupa stage, a flea grows inside of a cocoon much like a caterpillar. It will remain in this stage until the optimal conditions are ready, which adds to the difficulty when trying to get rid of flea infestations.
Not only can dogs and cats get fleas and serve as hosts, but most mammals and humans can get them as well. Humans are omnivores, capable of surviving on a diet of both animal and plant matter. Whereas adult fleas have a peculiar diet called hematophagy, which is the consumption of blood.
Adult fleas live on a host as an external parasite in order to obtain this unusual diet.
Adult fleas cannot just lay eggs at their will. They first must have a fresh blood meal from their host before being able to lay eggs.
Fleas can also be a sort of carrier or vector for diseases and other microscopic parasites. They can carry bacteria responsible for the bubonic plague. Fleas carrying the bubonic plague were responsible for the Black Death that killed approximately 75 million people in Europe during the middle ages.
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