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A cat flea Ctenocephalides felis waits on the carpet for a passing cat, dog or
Fleas are thought to have originated from fly-like ancestors. However, they look
nothing like the conventional fly because their bodies have become considerably modified
for surviving as parasites on vertebrates. For instance, the flattened body makes them
difficult to grip hold of. Their amazing jumping ability enables them to make a fast
getaway if they are discovered.
Of the nearly 100 species of flea found in southern Africa, the Cat
felis, which bites cats, dogs and humans, is usually the species responsible for causing human discomfort.
Genetic analysis, supported by morphological
information, has provided strong evidence that fleas are closely
related to mecopterans in the family Boreidae (snow scorpionflies or
(Siphonaptera). Web site of the Zoological Institute, St Petersburg.
Provides information on fleas in general.
News. Online newsletter of flea researchers.