Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada
Clickable Guide
Moths Butterflies Flies Caterpillars Flies Dragonflies Flies Mantids Cockroaches Bees and Wasps Walkingsticks Earwigs Ants Termites Hoppers and Kin Hoppers and Kin Beetles True Bugs Fleas Grasshoppers and Kin Ticks Spiders Scorpions Centipedes Millipedes



Species Ctenocephalides felis - Cat Flea

Cat flea? - Ctenocephalides felis Cat flea? - Ctenocephalides felis Cat flea? - Ctenocephalides felis Dead flea found in cat's bed - Ctenocephalides felis Flea off of one my cats - Ctenocephalides felis Ctenocephalides felis felis? - Ctenocephalides felis - male - female Cat flea larva - Ctenocephalides felis Cat flea larva - Ctenocephalides felis
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Siphonaptera (Fleas)
Family Pulicidae
Genus Ctenocephalides (Cat and Dog Fleas)
Species felis (Cat Flea)
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Orig. Comb: Pulex felis Bouché 1835
Explanation of Names
felis - Latin for a cat, the principal host of this species.
one of two species in this genus in North America
body length 1.5-2.5 mm
Forehead low and sloping; genal comb with 7-8 sharp teeth, the first tooth about equal in length to the second.
"Cat fleas are commonly found on both cats and dogs in North America, while dog fleas are found in Europe. The two species are distinguished by a slight morphological difference which is detectable only under high magnification." (Zentko and Richman 2011)
Cosmopolitan, most commonly found in North America, unlike the dog flea which is European.
Common on cats and dogs; also occurs on coyotes, foxes, rabbits, rats, humans
Adults feed on blood of the host. Larvae feed on any kind of organic debris found on the floor.
Life Cycle
The adult cat flea, unlike many other fleas, remains on the host. Adults require a fresh blood meal in order to reproduce. (Zentko and Richman 2011)
The most common domestic flea is the cat flea (Zentko and Richman 2011)
Implicated in the transmission of murine typhus in south Texas, California and Hawaii. A mean of 48 cases of murine typhus were reported annually from 1990 through 2006 in southern Texas. (Adjemian et al. 2010)
See Also
The Dog Flea (Ctenocephalides canis) has a high and well-rounded forehead, and the first tooth of its genal comb is shorter than the second.
Print References
Adjemian J, Parks S, McElroy K, Campbell J, Eremeeva ME, Nicholson WL, et al. 2010. Murine typhus in Austin, Texas, USA. Emerging Infectious Diseases. 16(3): 412-417. Available at:
Internet References
Featured Creatures - Diana C. Zentko and Dina L. Richman, 2011
preserved adult image and other info (U. of California, Berkeley)
preserved adult image plus classification, references, and links (David Maddison, Tree of Life)