References And Further Reading

Lice are a menace to humans, pets, and livestock, not only because of their blood-feeding or chewing habits, but also because of their ability to transmit pathogens. The human body louse has been indirectly responsible for influencing human history through its ability to transmit the causative agent of epidemic typhus. However, most of the 3200 known species of lice are ectoparasites of wild birds or mammals and have no known medical or veterinary importance.

The order Phthiraptera is divided into two main taxonomic groups: the Anoplura (sucking lice) and Mallophaga (chewing or biting lice). All members of the Anoplura are obligate, hematophagous ectoparasites of placental mammals, whereas the more diverse

Mallophaga include species that are obligate associates of birds, marsupials, and placental mammals. Although certain chewing lice imbibe blood, most species ingest host feathers, fur, skin, or skin products. Because of the different feeding strategies of the two groups, the blood-feeding Anoplura are far more important than the Mallophaga in transmitting pathogens to their hosts.

Major taxonomic syntheses for the sucking lice include a series of eight volumes by Ferris (1919—1935) that remains the most comprehensive treatment of this group on a worldwide basis. Ferris (1951) updated much of his earlier work in a shorter overview of the group. Kim et al. (1986) have compiled an authoritative manual and identification guide for the sucking lice of North America. Dur-den and Musser (1994a) provide a taxonomic checklist for the sucking lice of the world, with host records and geographical distribution for each species.

The chewing lice are taxonomically less well known than are the sucking lice, and few authoritative identification guides are available. These include a synopsis of the lice associated with laboratory animals (Kim et al. 1973), guides to the lice of domestic animals (Tuff 1977, Price and Graham 1997), and an identification guide to the lice

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