flea

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flea,

common name for any of the small, wingless insectsinsect,
invertebrate animal of the class Insecta of the phylum Arthropoda. Like other arthropods, an insect has a hard outer covering, or exoskeleton, a segmented body, and jointed legs. Adult insects typically have wings and are the only flying invertebrates.
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 of the order Siphonaptera. The adults of both sexes eat only blood and are all external parasites of mammals and birds. Fleas have hard bodies flattened from side to side and piercing and sucking mouthparts. Their legs are powerful and adapted for fast movement and jumping, enabling them to find new hosts as well as to escape quickly the attempts of the hosts to remove them. The adults can survive away from a host for several weeks without eating. Flea eggs are usually laid in dirt or in the nest of the host; the larvae feed on organic material and the feces of adult fleas. Metamorphosismetamorphosis
[Gr.,=transformation], in zoology, term used to describe a form of development from egg to adult in which there is a series of distinct stages. Many insects, amphibians, mollusks, crustaceans, and fishes undergo metamorphosis, which may involve a change in habitat,
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 is complete; the larvae spin silken cocoons when ready to pupate. Many species are not specific to a particular host species, and cat and dog fleas, as well as the human flea of the warmer parts of Europe and Asia, attack humans. Certain rat fleas transmit typhustyphus,
any of a group of infectious diseases caused by microorganisms classified between bacteria and viruses, known as rickettsias. Typhus diseases are characterized by high fever and an early onset of rash and headache.
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 and bubonic plagueplague,
any contagious, malignant, epidemic disease, in particular the bubonic plague and the black plague (or Black Death), both forms of the same infection. These acute febrile diseases are caused by Yersinia pestis (Pasteurella pestis
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 to humans, and another species transmits tularemiatularemia
or rabbit fever,
acute, infectious disease caused by Francisella tularensis (Pasteurella tularensis). The greatest incidence is among people who handle infected wild rabbits.
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 from rabbits. Fleas also transmit several species of tapewormstapeworm,
name for the parasitic flatworms forming the class Cestoda. All tapeworms spend the adult phase of their lives as parasites in the gut of a vertebrate animal (called the primary host).
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 that sometimes infest humans. The chigoechigoe
or jigger,
small parasitic flea (Tunga penetrans) of the tropics and subtropics, including the S United States. Humans and their domestic animals are the main hosts.
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 is a flea. Water fleas and beach fleas are crustaceanscrustacean
, primarily aquatic arthropod of the subphylum Crustacea. Most of the 44,000 crustacean species are marine, but there are many freshwater forms. The few groups that inhabit terrestrial areas have not been particularly successful in an evolutionary sense; most require
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 and not closely related to the insects. Fleas are classified in the phylum ArthropodaArthropoda
[Gr.,=jointed feet], largest and most diverse animal phylum. The arthropods include crustaceans, insects, centipedes, millipedes, spiders, scorpions, and the extinct trilobites.
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, class Insecta, order Siphonaptera.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/

flea

[flē]
(invertebrate zoology)
Any of the wingless insects composing the order Siphonaptera; most are ectoparasites of mammals and birds.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

flea

1. any small wingless parasitic blood-sucking insect of the order Siphonaptera, living on the skin of mammals and birds and noted for its power of leaping
2. any of various invertebrates that resemble fleas, such as the water flea and flea beetle
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
Flea combs are invaluable when used as a surveillance tool, to help determine whether any fleas have established a beachhead on your dog or cat.
During a daring 20-minute show, the fleas 'ride a see-saw', 'walk the high wire' and are even 'fired out of a cannon'.
And, if you do have fleas in your home, you may even see them jumping on your carpet or furniture.
Although adult fleas live and mature on your pet, most of the stages of the flea's life cycle happen in the environment so, to control fleas, you must use a product that rapidly kills any adult fleas before they have the opportunity to breed, and also to kill the juvenile life stages before they have the opportunity to mature and jump back onto your pet.
And despite fleas, ticks and worms being a health risk to humans, around half of respondents said their cats and dogs sleep in their bedroom with them, while one in six owners said their pets sleep in their child's bedroom.
Fleas are very common here in Florida and do almost always require a professional to control them.
"Not only does it effectively break the flea life cycle stages (flea eggs, flea larvae, adult fleas) but it also stops existing chewing lice infestations," the company said in a statement.
If lesser fleas started nibbling, maybe the big fleas at the top of the pile would suddenly begin to feel uncomfortable.
That is precisely why this conversation about fleas causing mondo death keeps resurfacing.
"A person once asked me, 'What's a flea market?' And, I told them, 'It's a place where we train fleas to lift weights, run like in the Olympics, and what I'm trying to do now is trying to train the fleas to jump rope but I can't find any jump rope for these fleas.' So the person was so serious and said, 'Why don't you use string?'''