Evidence from double infestations for the specific status of human head and body lice (Anoplura)

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:1978
Authors:J. R. Busvine
Journal:Systematic Entomology
Pagination:1 - 8
Date Published:1978
Keywords:clinical, Ethiopia, Pediculus

Samples of head and body lice obtained from Ethiopians suffering from double infestations were mounted on microscope slides and measured. The mean length of body lice (f 4.4 mm; m 3.8mm) was greater than that of head lice (f 3.5 mm; m 2.9 mm), but the best discriminate was the length of the tibia of the middle leg (f 425/296 mm; m 421/291 mm). No intermediate specimens were found in these double infestations, although intermediates can be produced experimentally by cross-mating. Since populations of head lice and body lice remain distinct it is concluded that they represent two distinct species, Pediculus capitis De Geer and P. humanus Linneaus.

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