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Louse

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(Redirected from Lice)
Phthiraptera
Missing image
Lice_image01.jpg
Sheep lice


Sheep lice have
translucent bodies and a proportionally
large head and abdomen.
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Arthropoda
Subphylum:Hexapoda
Class:Insecta
Subclass:Pterogota
Infraclass:Neoptera
Order:Phthiraptera
Suborders

Anoplura (sucking lice)
Rhyncophthirina
Ischnocera (avian lice)
Amblycera (chewing lice)

Lice (singular: louse) (order Phthiraptera) are an order of over 3000 species of wingless parasitic insects. They are all obligate ectoparasites of mammals and birds, excluding the Monotremes (the duck-billed platypus and spiny ant-eater) and bats.

A louse egg is commonly called a nit. Lice stick their eggs to their host's hair.

The order has traditionally been divided into two suborders; the sucking lice (Anoplura) and chewing lice (Mallophaga), however, recent classifications suggest that the Mallophaga are paraphyletic and four suborders are now recognised:

Lice are highly host specific and many species even prefer specific sites on their host's body. As lice spend their whole life on the host they have developed adaptations which enable them to maintain a close contact with him. These adaptations are reflected in their size (0.5 mm to 8 mm), stout legs and claws in order to cling tightly to hair, fur and feathers, wingless and dorsoventrally flattened. They feed on skin (epidermal) debris, feather parts, sebaceous secretions and blood. Their colour varies from pale beige to dark grey. If feeding on blood they may be considerably darker.

A nit comb is a comb with very fine close teeth to scrape nits off the hair.

The picture depicts the chewing louse Damalinia limbata found on Angora goats.de:Laus fr:Pou nl:Luis pt:Piolho

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