Biodiversity of Ectoparasites: Lice (Phthiraptera) and Fleas (Siphonaptera)

Publication Type:Book Chapter
Year of Publication:2018
Authors:T. D. Galloway
Editor:R. Foottit, Adler P. H.
Book Title:Insect Biodiversity: Science and Society, II
Pagination:457 - 482
Publisher:John Wiley & Sons, Ltd
City:Chichester, UK
ISBN Number:9781118945575

This chapter addresses the two insect orders in which all known species are ectoparasites. The sucking and chewing lice (Phthiraptera) are hemimetabolous insects that spend their entire lives on the bodies of their hosts. Fleas (Siphonaptera), on the other hand, are holometabolous. The diversity of these ectoparasites is limited by the diversity of the birds and mammals available as hosts. Determining the community diversity of lice and fleas is essential to understanding ecological structure and interactions, yet offers a number of challenges to the ectoparasitologist. The chapter explores medical and veterinary importance of lice and fleas. They are more likely to be considered detrimental parasites, perhaps even a threat to conservation efforts by their very presence or by the disease agents they transmit. Perez‐Osorio emphasized the importance of a more objective approach to conservation strategies by abandoning overemphasis on charismatic fauna and setting priorities in ecological management of wider biodiversity issues.

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