Saturday, 5 November 2022

A selection of ECTO-PARASITES



Siphonaptera, order of fleas:

Species? Twenty-five hundred of these.

Each selects its key host,

Feeds and breeds, then can boast,

"We bring itch, infestation, disease."

Ectoparasites, sure to displease.

 Dr G.H. and Giorgio Coniglio, 2022
Authors' Note: The fleas, wingless blood-sucking hopping insects, infest and make miserable a variety of warm-blooded host species including most famously man and dog. In America, the vast majority of infestations of domestic pests involve the cat fleaCtenophalides felis.


C. felis, its species, the cat flea:

Rented carpeted condo? Yes, that flea.

Former tenant's dog Will

Wore a flea-collar; still,

His tormentors remain as our flat flea.

 Dr G.H. and Giorgio Coniglio, 2022

Authors' Note: (tee-no-seh-FA-li-deez FEE-luhs).
As discussed in our previous verse on fleas, our voracious protagonist, Ctenocephalides felis, is the chief ectoparasite inflicting misery on canines in North America. Unfortunately, its life-cycle — egg, larva, pupa, adult (the hopping wingless blood-sucker), can result in its persistence for up to a year in a warm environment, like the carpet in your rented flat (apartment). In the absence of its usual victims, the flea will consider humans as a predation target of secondary interest. Another piece of bad news is that, through longstanding attempts at control, the species is becoming resistant to insecticides.


To H. suis, the prevalent swine louse:

"Midst blood-sucking lice, you're a fine louse.

Shunning me and my dog,

You live high on the hog.

You're a blight, but the fright isn't mine, louse."

 Dr G.H. and Giorgio Coniglio, 2022

Authors' Note: This agricultural pest, Haematopinus suis, commonly known as the hog louse, lives its life only on porcine hosts, with the larvae (nymphs) concentrating on the head region. Apparently, infestations of swine herds can be treated easily with avermectins, a class of veterinary antibiotics.


Folks acquire by means many and various

Infestations with C. lectularius.

There's a recent resurgence

(They resist most detergents;

On vacation you're heading?

No! Stay home. Clean your bedding.)

Of this blood-sucking bedthug nefarious.

Dr.G.H. and Giorgio Coniglio, 2022 

Authors' Note:  Details of the legend: The protagonist needed some vacation following a busy time of downsizing and changing residences. A few days prior to taking off on Snowbird flight 203, it became obvious that a domestic infestation of bedbugs, presumably acquired during the household move, had pre-empted his search for a subtropical respite. 


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