Cat Flea   Print   |  Home  |  Close Window
     
The cat flea, Ctenocephalides felis, is one of the most abundant and widespread fleas in the world. The cat flea's primary host is the domestic cat, but this is also the primary flea infesting dogs in most of the world. The cat flea can also maintain its life cycle on other carnivores and on the Virginia opossum. Rabbits, rodents, ruminants and humans can be infested or bitten, but a population of cat fleas cannot be sustained by these aberrant (abnormal) hosts.

The female cat flea lays her eggs on the host, but the eggs, once dry, have evolved to filter out of the haircoat of the host into the resting and sheltering area of the host.

The eggs hatch into larvae, which are negatively phototaxic, meaning that they hide from light in the substrate. Flea larvae feed on a variety of organic substances, but most importantly subsist on dried blood that is filtered out of the haircoat of the host after it is deposited there as adult flea fecal material. Thus the adult population on the host feeds the larval population in the host's environment.

Flea larvae metamorphose through 3 stages before spinning a cocoon and entering the pupal stage. The pupal stage varies greatly in length; the pre-emergent flea does not normally emerge as a young adult flea until the presence of a potential host is perceived by warmth, vibration or carbon dioxide production. Newly emerged fleas are stimulated to jump to a new host within seconds of emerging from the cocoon. The new flea begins feeding on host blood within minutes.

Information Source / More Info:  Wikipedia.org