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(invertebrate zoology)
Biting lice, a comparatively small order of wingless insects characterized by five-segmented antennae, distinctly developed mandibles, one or two terminal claws on each leg, and a prothorax developed as a distinct segment.



(bird lice), an order of insects of the group Pterygota. Mallophagans have secondarily reduced wings. The insects, which parasitize birds and, less often, mammals, are small, with a thick body measuring 0.5–11 mm in length. The head is wider than the thorax, and the mesothorax and metathorax of many species are fused. The eyes are reduced, the antennae are short with three to five segments, and the mouth-parts are fitted for chewing. The tarsi have one or two segments and one or two claws. Mallophagans feed on desquamated epithelium and its derivatives (feathers, down, hair) and, less frequently, on blood. The eggs adhere to hairs, down, and feathers; development takes place with almost no metamorphosis. Infestation occurs by contact; sometimes the mallophagans are carried by louse flies or other bloodsuckers. Each species parasitizes a limited number of host species. The insect’s feeding and movement over the host’s skin cause intense itching and weakening of the host.

There are more than 2,500 species of mallophagans, comprising two suborders: Amblycera and Ischnosera. The former have concealed antennae and protruding jaws; they include the chicken head louse, which is harmful to poultry breeding. Three genera of the suborder parasitize marsupials. The Ischnosera, which have threadlike antennae and upper jaws that are directed downward, include the Trinotum luridum and the Tricho-dectidae.

Measures to combat mallophagans include treating infested animals with contact insecticides and cleaning and disinfecting the premises.


References in periodicals archive ?
Chewing lice (Phthiraptera, Amblycera, Ischnocera) from chukars (Alectoris chukar) from a pheasant farm in Jinacovice (Czech Republic).
Colpocephalum, Kurodaia and Strigiphilus are the genera of chewing lice from Strigiformes (Price & Beer 1963, Morishita et al.
Birds and their associated chewing lice (Downloaded: January 10, 2009, www.
New synonymies of chewing lice (Phthiraptera: Amblycera, Ischnocera) described from the Falconiformes (Aves).
opulentus, meet near the San Acacia constriction, as do their respective ectoparasitic chewing lice, Geomydoecus aurei and G.
The entire life cycle of chewing lice occurs on the host (Marshall 1981), and transmission of lice among hosts appears to require host-to-host contact (Timm 1983).
Unlike the gophers, the two species of chewing lice that meet at this zone show fixed allelic differences, and there is no evidence of interbreeding (Demastes 1990).