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Not a Cat Flea

Not a Cat Flea
Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, USA
April 7, 2010
According to Borror, Triplehorn, and Johnson, this is in the subfamily Anomiopsyllinae, but I'm not confident that I didn't choose an incorrect couplet at some point. Anybody here good with identifying fleas? The labial palps are a bit difficult to make out in the photo - they appear to extend to the front trochanters. They were found feeding upon humans, and I'm trying to determine what the original host was (or perhaps still is).

Images of this individual: tag all
Not a Cat Flea Not a Cat Flea Not a Cat Flea

Moved from ID Request.

cannot see diagnostic characters
but your specimen has a distinct pronotal comb, so that rules out the human flea and oriental rat flea. if you can determine if it has both genal and pronotal combs we can eliminate further

Thanks, Guy. No genal combs.
Thanks, Guy. No genal combs. Depth of field and lighting isn't uniform on the image - anything I should zoom in on, or anything I can look for?

labial palps extending or not extending PAST the trochanter of the front leg......if they do not, then you need to count pairs of bristles on the hind tarsal segment 5...

I saw that on the Pratt and S
I saw that on the Pratt and Stark key. I've finally gotten an image where I can tell the length - it looks like D. montanus is out, the labial palp is too short.

For the bristles, do you know if the pair of ventral bristles are longer than the lateral? That's how this looks, and it looks like there are four lateral, but I'm at the end of my ability to focus. I'm now thinking this is O. howardii.

If you have four lateral
then my opinion is also O. Howardii. Not authoritative tho, I am a beetle specialist, I just happened to have a flea key handy and it did not seem that the key characters were too hard to recognize. Seems the ID is logical based on what you can resolve in the your scope and the fact that squirrel fleas are known to bite feed on humans.

Now to add insult to injury, one site I just visited listed 80 species of fleas for Colorado....Our keys may prove more limited than I thought.

I know... and I tend to worry
I know... and I tend to worry with simplistic keys like Pratt and Stark. Amin 1976 J Med Ent did a survey of my area and found 16 spp of fleas. I can disqualify several based upon experience. O. howardii has one of the broader host ranges of typical urban wildlife, so it's more likely to have been "dropped off," so to speak. I might try to find a key for the other spp. and see if I can disqualify, or give Borror another run, but it seems like I have my identification.

Thank you for the help! :)

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