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squirrel flea - Orchopeas howardi

squirrel flea - Orchopeas howardi
Groton, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, USA
January 30, 2011
Size: 2mm
I took a mouse nest out of one of my bird nest boxes, and found about 200 of these fleas in it. It must be one of the rodent fleas in the Ceratophyllidae. I collected about 10 of the fleas, so if anyone can identify them, I'd be happy to ship them out.

Moved from Fleas.

Orchopeas howardii (squirrel flea)
This keys out to Orchopeas howardii (squirrel flea), although the key I used was not inclusive of all North American fleas. Key features are:

-presence of pronotal but not genal combs
-two rows of setae on abdominal segments
-palps not reaching front trochanter
-segment of tarsus 5 on hind leg bering one pair of basal, ventral bristles and four pairs of lateral plantar bristles.

I will not create a page or move this species, because I am not up on Siphonaptera taxonomy, but it is safe to do if you want to look into it.

Tom, I am going to email two laboratory images of one of the fleas. One is the whole flea and the other is the head showing the characteristics of the bristles and mouthparts. I suggest linking them to these images, if you'd like.

Great work Blaine!!!
Maybe the nest in the bird box was a flying squirrel nest. It was empty when I took the nest out of the box.
Is there one or two "i" at the end of the species name?

(1) uses one

I'd use that one over the one
I'd use that one over the one I did...LOL

corrected on BG, thanks.

hey Tom
send them my way; we have references and experts that may help ID.

nice. rare guest on BG pages...

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