Author: Prof. Dr. med. Peter Altmeyer

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Last updated on: 29.10.2020

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Siphon adaptera

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Small, wingless, bloodsucking insects. Worldwide 1100 species have been described so far. Hosts are birds, mammals and humans.

General information
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The development from egg to hatching flea resting in a pupa shell takes three to six weeks. The hatching of the mature fleas is triggered by a ground shake generated by the host. Infested rooms that have been uninhabited for a long period of time are home to numerous mature fleas waiting to hatch.

The human flea (Pulex irritans) has the greatest importance for humans.

Also of clinical importance are:

  • dog flea (Ctenocephalides canis)
  • Cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis)
  • Household rat flea (Xenopsylla cheopsis)
  • Chicken flea (Ceratophyllus gallinae).

Vector of plague and endemic typhus), Tunga penetrans, Bartonella henselae (bacillary angiomatosis in immunocompromised persons).

Clinical picture
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Fluorescence detection: Female fleas lay their eggs in the fur of their hosts. The infestation of a dog or cat can be detected by the flea faeces. In flea faeces, degradation products of the blood pigment are detectable. These can be recognised as reddish spots or as carmine red fluorescent spots in wood light. For this purpose, a well moistened white sheet of paper is placed next to the animal to be examined. Then a brush is used to go through the back fur. Hair, scales, dirt and, if necessary, flea droppings fall onto the damp surface. The flea excrement can be recognized by wood light through its carmine red fluorescence.


Last updated on: 29.10.2020