Sunday, February 26, 2023
The Arthropods | Educational Video for Kids.
Thursday, February 23, 2023
Flea Circuses and the Plague
Flea circuses provided entertainment to nineteenth century audiences. These circuses, extremely popular in Europe from 1830 onwards, featured fleas dressed as humans or towing miniature carts, chariots, rollers or cannon. These devices were originally made by watchmakers or jewellers to show off their skill at miniaturization. A ringmaster called a "professor" accompanied their performance with a rapid circus patter.
Carriers of plague
Oriental rat fleas, Xenopsylla cheopis, can carry the coccobacillus Yersinia pestis. The infected fleas feed on rodent vectors of this bacterium, such as the black rat, Rattus rattus, and then infect human populations with the plague, as has happened repeatedly from ancient times, as in the Plague of Justinian in 541–542. Outbreaks killed up to 200 million people across Europe between 1346 and 1671. The Black Death pandemic between 1346 and 1353 likely killed over a third of the population of Europe.
Because fleas carry plague, they have seen service as a biological weapon. During World War II, the Japanese army dropped fleas infested with Y. pestis in China. The bubonic and septicaemic plagues are the most probable form of the plague that would spread as a result of a bioterrorism attack that used fleas as a vector.
Read more, here.
Monday, February 20, 2023
Fleas : Relationships with Host
Fleas feed on a wide variety of warm-blooded vertebrates including dogs, cats, rabbits, squirrels, ferrets, rats, mice birds and sometimes humans. Fleas normally specialise in one host species or group of species, but can often feed but not reproduce on other species. Ceratophyllus gallinae affects poultry as well as wild birds. As well as the degree of relatedness of a potential host to the flea's original host, it has been shown that avian fleas that exploit a range of hosts, only parasitise species with low immune responses. In general, host specificity decreases as the size of the host species decreases. Another factor is the opportunities available to the flea to change host species; this is smaller in colonially nesting birds, where the flea may never encounter another species, than it is in solitary nesting birds. A large, long-lived host provides a stable environment that favours host-specific parasites.
Although there are species named dog fleas (Ctenocephalides canis Curtis, 1826) and cat fleas (Ctenocephalides felis), fleas are not always strictly species-specific. A study in Virginia examined 244 fleas from 29 dogs: all were cat fleas. Dog fleas had not been found in Virginia in more than 70 years, and may not even occur in the US, so a flea found on a dog is likely a cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis).
One theory of human hairlessness is that the loss of hair helped humans to reduce their burden of fleas and other ectoparasites.
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Friday, February 17, 2023
Beetle 🐞 | Amazing Animals
Tuesday, February 14, 2023
Happy Valentines Day!
Saturday, February 11, 2023
Predators and Parasites of an Earwig
Earwigs are regularly preyed upon by birds, and like many other insect species they are prey for insectivorous mammals, amphibians, lizards, centipedes, assassin bugs, and spiders. European naturalists have observed bats preying upon earwigs. Their primary insect predators are parasitic species of Tachinidae, or tachinid flies, whose larvae are endoparasites. One species of tachinid fly, Triarthria setipennis, has been demonstrated to be successful as a biological control of earwigs for almost a century. Another tachinid fly and parasite of earwigs, Ocytata pallipes, has shown promise as a biological control agent as well. The common predatory wasp, the yellow jacket (Vespula maculifrons), preys upon earwigs when abundant. A small species of roundworm, Mermis nigrescens, is known to occasionally parasitize earwigs that have consumed roundworm eggs with plant matter. At least 26 species of parasitic fungus from the order Laboulbeniales have been found on earwigs. The eggs and nymphs are also cannibalized by other earwigs. A species of tyroglyphoid mite, Histiostoma polypori (Histiostomatidae, Astigmata), are observed on common earwigs, sometimes in great densities; however, this mite feeds on earwig cadavers and not its live earwig transportation. Hippolyte Lucas observed scarlet acarine mites on European earwigs.
Read more, here.
Wednesday, February 8, 2023
Peacock Spider Dances to YMCA
Sunday, February 5, 2023
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Thursday, February 2, 2023
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