Polyplacidae

This is a large family of lice that include species that infest numerous species of rats (Rattus) and mice (Mus), rabbits and hares, squirrels (Spermophilus), chipmunks (Tamius), and voles

(Microtus). Adult males and females are usually less than 2 mm long.

Mouse louse, Polyplax serrata (Fig. 14.1c, d) The adult female is about 1.3 mm long and the male is about 0.9 mm long. The body is elongate and slender; the male head and thorax are broad. Antennae are as long as the head, and the thoracic sternal plate is broadly pointed posteriorly. This louse is commonly found on the house mouse (Mus musculus) worldwide; it also occurs on other mice.

Spiny rat louse, Polyplax spinulosa Adult females are about 1.3 mm long and males are about 1 mm long. The female body is elongate, while the male body is short and broad. Antennae are equal to the length of the head. The thoracic sternal plate has a blunt point and the lateral margins are nearly parallel. This species is associated with the Norway rat (Rattus norvegicus) and the roof rat (R. rattus), and it is distributed throughout the world wherever Norway rats occur.

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