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Siphonaptera ~ Fleas

Although they are tiny, fleas are familiar to most people, especially those who live in warm climates. They live in the nests (and houses) of mammals and a few birds, where they have a reliable food source.

Flea mouthparts are adapted to pierce skin and then suck out blood. The larvae are scavengers on the adults' waste or bits of dried blood and other organic waste in the area where they live.

Fleas are wingless but can jump.

These insects develop through complete metamorphosis: larvae molt three times, form a pupa, and emerge as an adult. The larvae are always found in association with adults.

Size is very small.

Identification is quite difficult below the order level due to the small size and similarities between species.

These are the Families of Siphonoptera (fleas) likely to be encountered in Austin, Texas:

[common fleas]

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