Life History and Habits

Adult fleas of both sexes are exclusively bloodsucking ectoparasites, though their association with a host is a rather loose one, that is, they spend a considerable time off the host's body. Host-parasite specificity is varied. A few species of fleas are monoxenous (restricted to a single host species) but most are polyxenous, with more than 20 potential hosts recorded for some species. Conversely, an animal may host one or many flea species. It is this lack ofhost specificity that makes fleas important vectors of certain diseases. The cosmopolitan rat flea, Xenopsylla cheopsis, for example, is responsible for transmitting bubonic plague and typhus, normally diseases of rodents, to humans. Fleas also are the intermediate hosts of the dog and rodent tapeworms that can infect humans. Interestingly, the European rabbit flea, Spilopsyl-lus cuniculi, introduced into Australia in 1966, appears to be a useful biocontrol agent by spreading the myxomatosis virus in rabbit populations. Adult fleas may survive for several months in the absence of a host and may live for more than a year when food is available.

Mating may occur on the host or in its nest, being triggered by warmth or feeding, the latter also being a prerequisite for egg maturation. In S. cuniculi, whichis very host-specific, reproductive events are controlled by the level of hormones, especially corticosteroids, in the host's blood. Thus, the flea's breeding activity is closely linked with that of its host.

Beekeeping for Beginners

Beekeeping for Beginners

The information in this book is useful to anyone wanting to start beekeeping as a hobby or a business. It was written for beginners. Those who have never looked into beekeeping, may not understand the meaning of the terminology used by people in the industry. We have tried to overcome the problem by giving explanations. We want you to be able to use this book as a guide in to beekeeping.

Get My Free Ebook

Post a comment