Biology 625
Fall semester lecture note outline

Updated: 13 March 2005

The text below simply represents a crude lecture outline of one of the topics covered in class. It is not meant to substitute for attending lectures or ignoring the textbook. Additional material, including line drawings, kodachromes, and more extensive information on life-cycles and basic biology, will be supplied in the lectures.

TOPIC 41. Orders: Mallophaga and Anoplura

Order: Mallophaga

  1. chewing lice
  2. over 3,000 described species
  3. infest birds and mammals; most on birds
  4. most ingest feathers or hair; some live off epithelial cells, mucus, or even sebaceous secretions; a few chew into quills of birds and feed on blood
  5. wingless
  6. dorso-ventrally flattened
  7. no ocelli
  8. antennae short, with 3-5 segments
  9. separate sexes
  10. eggs usually cemented to feathers or hair of the host
  11. head usually broader than prothorax
  12. mandibles conspicuous, used to cut off pieces of feathers or hair; maxillae and labium reduced
  13. species may cause dermal lesions, feather or hair damage, irritation, restlessness, etc.
  14. typical life-cycle
    1. eggs attached to hair or feathers
    2. a nymph hatches 3-14 days later
    3. 3 nymphal instars (about 1 week each)
    4. molt into adult; mate
  15. 3 suborders:
    1. Amblycera
      1. maxillary palps present
      2. antennae carried in ventro-lateral grooves on head
      3. antennae with 4 (rarely 5) joints; the third being stalked; antennae may (slightly) or may not project from sides of head
      4. tend to be generalists and many species non-host specific
      5. about 6 families; Boopidae (ca 7 genera, on Australian marsupials and Casuariidae), Gyropidae (ca 9 genera, on Central and South American rodents and marsupials), Laemobothriidae (1 genus, on birds), Menoponidae (ca 72 genera, all on birds), Ricinidae (ca 3 genera, all on birds), and Trimenoponidae (ca 5 genera, on Central and South American rodents and marsupials)
      6. some representative species
        1. Gliricola porcelli (guinea pigs)
        2. Gyropus ovalis (guinea pigs)
        3. Menacanthus stramineus (yellow body louse of chickens and turkeys; prefers skin and can cause severe irritation)
        4. Menopon gallinae (shaft louse of galliform and anseriform birds)
    2. Ischnocera
      1. maxillary palps absent
      2. antennae filiform and conspicuous, with 3 or 5 joints; stick out prominently from side of head
      3. food confined to feathers or hair; species in birds sometimes confined to specific sites on body
      4. most species specific for specific hosts
      5. two families, Trichodectidae (ca 20 genera, all on mammals) and Philopteridae (ca 134 genera, all on birds). Some authors break these 2 families up into 5 different families
      6. some representative species
        1. Anaticola anseris and Anaticola crassicornis (duck lice)
        2. Bovicola bovis (cattle louse; many other species of the genus on other animals)
        3. Columbicola columbae (slender pigeon louse)
        4. Cuclotogaster heterographus (chicken head louse)
        5. Felicola subrostratus (cat louse)
        6. Goniocotes bidentatus (pigeon louse)
        7. Goniocotes gallinae (fluff louse of chickens)
        8. Goniocoites gigas (giant chicken louse)
        9. Goniodes dissimilis (reddish-brown chicken louse)
        10. Lipeurus caponis (wing louse)
        11. Oxylipeurus polytrapzius (slender turkey louse)
        12. Strigiphilus garylarsoni (owl louse)
        13. Trichodectes canis (dog louse)
        14. Trichodectes tibalis (deer in western US)
    3. Rhynchophthirina
      1. maxillary palps absent
      2. mouthparts at end of projecting structure
      3. feed on blood
      4. only 3 known species, all apparently of African origin and in the genus Haematomyzus (Haematomyzidae):
        1. Haematomyzus elephantis Piaget, 1869 from both African (type host) and Asian elephants
        2. Haematomyzus hopkinsi Clay, 1963 from the warthog
        3. Haematomyzus porci Emerson and Price, 1988 from the bush pig

Order: Anoplura

  1. sucking lice
  2. less than 500 described species; about 76 described from North America
  3. infest mammals only
  4. ingest blood
  5. wingless
  6. dorso-ventrally flattened
  7. eyes absent or present; if present no ocelli
  8. antennae conspicuous; composed of three segments (scape, pedicel, and flagellum; flagellum divided into 3 sub-segments)
  9. separate sexes
  10. eggs usually cemented to hair of the host
  11. head usually narrower than prothorax
  12. mouthparts retracted into the head when not feeding
  13. first legs with terminal claw
  14. typical life-cycle
    1. eggs (nits) attached to hair; body louse of humans cements eggs to clothing fibers
    2. a nymph hatches 3-14 days later
    3. 3 nymphal instars (about 1 week each)
    4. molt into adult; mate
  15. representative species
    1. Haematopinus asini (equid louse)
    2. Haematopinus eurysternus (short-nosed cattle louse)
    3. Haematopinus quadripertusus (cattle tail louse)
    4. Haematopinus suis (pig louse)
    5. Haematopinus ventricosus (rabbits)
    6. Haplopleura aenomydis (rats in North America)
    7. Linognathus piliferus (common dog louse)
    8. Linognathus spp. (on cattle, sheep, goats)
    9. Solenopotes capillatus (cattle)
    10. Pediculus humanus humanus (syn. Pediculus vestimenti) (body louse)
    11. Pediculus humanus capitus (head louse)
    12. Pediculus mjobergi (New World monkeys)
    13. Polyplax spinulosa (rat louse; may transmit typhus)
    14. Pthirus gorillae (on gorilla)
    15. Pthirus pubis (pubic louse of humans)
  16. several ancient "remedies" employed lice
    1. one ancient Chinese remedy for a migraine headache was to grind 300-500 lice into a paste and smear it on the head
    2. the Europeans, too, had odd remedies that employed lice. One cure for jaundice involved swallowing two crushed or live lice with wine. A cure for malaria involved ingesting 3 live lice with bread or plums. For a toothache, one could place a live louse in a hole drilled in a bean. The hole was then closed with wax and then the bean was worn around the neck in cloth or silk
    3. understand now why we teach students the scientific method and employ controls in studies?
  17. although few individuals will admit to having lice, I've been able to locate a few notables who had them
    1. at 16 years of age, George Washington, like many people of the day, had lice. As a young surveyor in 1748 he stayed one night in a frontier cottage that was so louse infested that he wrote in his journal "We cleaned ourselves to get rid of the game we catched the night before."
    2. actress Eva Mendes was in seventh grade when an epidemic of head lice swept through her school. Age 13 and she had to have most of her hair cut off.
    3. actress Linda Wang developed head lice while filming "Birds of Passage" in the Philippines
    4. actress Alex Kingston was found by make-up artists to have head lice, apparently acquired from her 18 mo old daughter. Disinfection of the set of ER was reputed to be extensive and expensive
    5. actress Halle Berry claims to have acquired head lice from a young child whose mother was a victim of domestic violence
    6. the Archbishop of Canterbury, St. Thomas a Becket, was murdered in 1170. He had always been known as an individual who dressed raggedly in 8 layers of clothing and was louse infested. As his body grew cold and the faithful crowded into the church to pay their last respects, the lice residing in his clothing began exiting. A chronicler wrote down the following: "The vermin boiled over like water in a simmering cauldron, and the onlookers burst into alternate weeping and laughter."

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