A Guide to the Insects of the Coal Oil Point Reserve

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Funded in part by the UCSB Pearl Chase Fund

Last updated 08/15/2005
  Insects of Coal Oil Point > Guide > Fleas

Siphonaptera - Fleas

Fleas are notorious pests. They are wingless, high-jumping blood suckers, well known to dog and cat owners everywhere. They have also been implicated as vectors of a number of human diseases, most notably bubonic plague (transmitted from rodents to humans by flea bites). Though in reality most fleas are harmless and ubiquitous cohabitants of birds and small mammals, most people will be disconcerted to learn that plague does in fact occur in California, and is rarely but occasionally transmitted to people by fleas from ground squirrels. This is not a major concern at Coal Oil Point, but awareness and caution is always advisable (visit the CDC for more information). The reserve is known to have the stick-fast flea that burrows in the skin of birds, however we do not yet have a specimen of it.

The lone flea we have in the collection was found in the opening of pocket gopher burrow.

Flea Photos
(click to enlarge)


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