Sucking Lice (Siphunculata)

Sucking lice have piercing mouthparts, which they use to suck the blood of their hosts – mostly mammals, including man. They hang on to hair with a single large claw at the end of their strong legs. Lice that feed exclusively on blood do not get a well-balanced diet, and make up for this by having bacteria in their gut that provide the additional nutrients.Nearly every mammal species can be infested by a sucking louse – even seals, whales and walruses have them! These ‘marine lice’ all belong to the family Echinophthiriidae, and they can exist for long periods under water by taking a layer of air down with them between their specially modified body hairs, or by breathing air trapped in the host’s body hair.

Habitat

Habits

They live on mammals and birds but are not found on humans.

Region

Control / Prevention

Keep animals clean and treat with specialty flea and tick shampoo and grooming products.

Threats

Lice can cause itching and small welts on the skin. Their bites can result in hair and feather loss, blood loss and even skin infection if not managed.

Photos

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