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common name for members of either of two distinct orders of wingless, parasitic, disease-carrying 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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. Lice of both groups are small and flattened with short legs adapted for clinging to the host.

The sucking lice, of the order Anoplura, are external parasites of humans and other mammals, feeding on blood by means of their piercing-and-sucking mouthparts. The group includes the body lice and head lice, considered varieties of the same species, Pediculus humanus, and the crab, or pubic, louse, Phthirus pubis, named for its crablike appearance. A female sucking louse lays about 300 eggs, or nits, in her lifetime, cementing them to body hairs and underclothing. The larva resembles the adult; the life cycle takes about 16 days. Sucking lice infestations are common in crowded living conditions and where clothing is not changed or washed frequently. Body lice may transmit rickettsial diseases (see rickettsiarickettsia
, any of an order (Rickettsiales) of very small microorganisms, many disease-causing, that live in vertebrates and are transmitted by bloodsucking parasitic arthropods such as fleas, lice (see louse), and ticks.
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) and bacterial infections such as relapsing feverrelapsing fever,
infectious disease caused by a spirochete bacteria of the genus Borrelia and characterized by a high fever that breaks and then recurs a one to two weeks later. Relapsing fever may be transmitted by body lice or soft ticks.
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; infection results from scratching the crushed louse or its feces into the skin.

The chewing, or biting, lice, of the order Mallophaga, have chewing mouthparts and feed on hair, skin, or feather fragments of the host. They attack birds, rodents, and domesticated animals. Although they do not actually puncture the skin, and thus are scavengers and not true parasites, they often multiply so rapidly that they irritate, weaken, and may even kill the host. The chicken louse, Menopon pallidum, if left uncontrolled, can be a major problem in poultry production. Chewing lice may produce 6 to 12 generations annually. The eggs hatch into rapidly developing young in which 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 incomplete, as in many parasites.

The book louse is a tiny, wingless, cosmopolitan insect that damages books by feeding on glue, paste, and paper. It resembles lice but is not related, belonging to the order Psocoptera. The aphidaphid
or plant louse,
tiny, usually green, soft-bodied, pear-shaped insect injurious to vegetation. It is also called greenfly and blight. Aphids are mostly under 1-4 in. (6 mm) long.
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 is sometimes called plant louse.

Lice 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, orders Anoplura and Mallophaga.


See bulletins of the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/


(invertebrate zoology)
The common name for the apterous ectoparasites composing the orders Anoplura and Mallophaga.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


1. any wingless bloodsucking insect of the order Anoplura: includes Pediculus capitis (head louse), Pediculus corporis (body louse), and the crab louse, all of which infest man
2. biting or bird louse any wingless insect of the order Mallophaga, such as the chicken louse: external parasites of birds and mammals with biting mouthparts
3. any of various similar but unrelated insects, such as the plant louse and book louse
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
This in turn gives Buck's later jab about Stephen's "lousiness" its ironic doubleness: though Buck has referred condescendingly to Stephen as a "poor dogsbody," meaning "a servant who does odd jobs," when Stephen sees himself "as others see me" as a "dogsbody to rid of vermin," he may be thinking of the epigrams that Buck and Haines want to steal: they mean to "rid" him, or take from him, his creative ideas (Joyce 1961, 6).
Under this rule, it is illegal to produce, say, Microsoft brand ramen noodles, even though that other Microsoft isn't in the noodle business, lest the lousiness of your pasta undermine the software company's reputation.
Tho I miss you, our dear Australia is greater than ourselves: and this pretended sophistication that I noted last night with everyone rushing to Sydney is a sort of lousiness, and to go out west is to roll in the sand or a good dusty place and be cleansed.
These include cable and the new digital lousiness streams from that cable infrastructure, the solutions business, the data lousiness, and the Internet, as well as global and local.
Thomas points out that when companies manage diversity, they need to approach it from a lousiness perspective and focus on the way in which organizations are managed and the way managers do their jobs.
Analysts said they were surprised by the move, but praised the decision for San Diego-based Sempra because of KN Energy's high debt levels and struggling energy lousiness. "The costs weren't going to pay off.
The entire set of 1978 issues contained only four articles with a focus on international lousiness; in 1988 there were 11 such papers; and in 1998, 14 articles addressed global dimensions.
Members of the charter cohort of students include independent consultants, a general manager for global strategy development in the communication industry, the chief executive officer for a North American trade union, a pair of information systems and lousiness process consultants sent by alliance partners, directors of training and development for transnational organizations, and educators involved in large-scale social change projects.
The following prediction, quoted from a popular lousiness magazine in 1979, is typical: "Over the next 25 years [the baby-bust generation] will enjoy better entry-level jobs, higher relative income, and faster promotions because of sparser numbers."(2)
Scuba has become big lousiness with diveshops popping up everywhere.
The best way to ensure that students get good service, low rates, and a well-administered pay-as-you-can repayment option is to make the government and the banks compete directly for students' lousiness. For that to happen, every school must be able to offer students both programs.
They're found in the gutted rooms of condemned buildings, the streets of decaying villages, and the servants' quarters of seedy hotels--"We have them in here all the time," a clerk says offhandedly, "people like that." These are the welfare state's leftovers: drug addicts, the elderly, the insane, and the occasional decent person trying but not succeeding in the lousiness of just getting by.