Taxonomy: Order Siphonaptera (fleas)
Animal: Xenopsylla cheopis 1 01.jpg
Xenopsylla cheopis (oriental or tropical rat flea) female 1.5 to 4mm lack both genal and pronotal ctendium (combs) but has eyes and an internal mesothoracic rod. Identification of flea species is determined by the shape of the head, presence or absence of genal and pronotal combs, eyes, internal rod on the mesothorax, bristles on hindcoxa etc. This flea is a primary vector for bubonic plague and murine typhus, famous for spreading the black death. It can also act as a host for tapeworms Dipylidium caninum, Hymenolepis diminuta and Hymenolepis nana. X. cheopis fleas were obtained from wild rats in Brisbane. (see Pugh 1985 PhD thesis; Smart. 1943) see bibliography for details. Measurements are vital for id of parasites. Fleas should be fixed and stored in 70 percent alcohol. To examine: temporary mount - use drop lactophenol blue or chlorlactophenol, ring with nail polish or semi-permanent mount - use melted jelly and ring with nail polish or permanent mounts- immerse in Decon 90 over night, dehydrate alcohols, clear methyl salicylate and mount canada balsam.
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