Insects of Britain and Ireland: orders

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L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz



Adult insects. Parasitic; ectoparasitic on mammals and ectoparasitic on birds; conspicuous ‘jumpers’. Minute to small; flightless. Body laterally flattened. Head hypognathous. Mouthparts well developed; suctorial; piercing; highly modified (mandibles absent, the maxillary laciniae adapted as a pair of long, distally serrated, cutting blades, the maxillary and labial palpi well developed with the latter forming a sheath for the laciniae, and the epipharynx forming a long stylet). Antennae complex (the terminal segment usually petiolate, with nine ‘units’); 3 segmented. Compound eyes vestigial or absent. Ocelli 2 (or these reduced), or 0. Tarsi 5 segmented. Abdomen not conspicuously appendaged; apparently 10 segmented.

Larvae. Larvae saprophagous (commonly in dust and detritus); without segmented thoracic legs (vermiform); without ventral abdominal prolegs; with paired anal prolegs to without anal prolegs (the terminal segment with a pair of ‘anal struts’). Larval head with a well sclerotized capsule. Development of larva into adult involving marked metamorphosis; endopterygote; involving a pupal stage.

Pupae. Pupae without a puparium; without articulated mandibles; with free appendages.

Classification. Subclass Pterygota; Division Endopterygota.

British representation. Ceratophyllidae, Hystrichopsyllidae, Ichnopsyllidae, Leptopsyllidae, Pulicidae; genera about 25; about 50 species.

Illustrations. • Ceratophyllus Curtis, = Ischnopsyllus elongatus (Curtis): Yellow Bat's Flea; B. Ent. 417. • Ischnopsyllus elongatus (detail: B. Ent. 417). • Ischnopsyllus elongatus (dissection details: B. Ent. 417). • Ceratophyllys (= Ischnopsyllus) elongatus: B. Ent. 417, legend+text. • Ceratophyllys (= Ischnopsyllus) elongatus: B. Ent. 417, text cont.). • Hystrichopsylla talpae (Curtis). (Mole's Flea: B. Ent. 114). • Hystrichopsylla talpae (detail, dissections: B. Ent. 114). • Hystrichopsylla talpae (B. Ent. 114, legend+text). • Hystrichopsylla talpae (B. Ent. 114, text cont.). • Pulex irritans (Common Flea: Shaw & Nodder (1794). • Pulex irritans (text: Shaw & Nodder). • Pulex irritans (text, cont.: Shaw & Nodder). • Pulex irritans (text, cont.: Shaw & Nodder). • Pulex irritans (text, cont.: Shaw & Nodder). • Pulex irritans (text, cont.: Shaw & Nodder). • Pulex irritans and Pulex canis: Walker.

To view the illustrations with detailed captions, go to the interactive key. This also offers full and partial descriptions, diagnostic descriptions, differences and similarities between taxa, lists of taxa exhibiting or lacking specified attributes, and distributions of character states within any set of taxa.

Cite this publication as: ‘Watson, L., and Dallwitz, M.J. 2003 onwards. Insects of Britain and Ireland: orders. Version: 16th May 2016.’.