Fleas are wingless insects that are agile, usually dark coloured with tube-like mouth-parts adapted to feeding on the blood of their hosts. Their legs are long, the hind pair well adapted for jumping: a flea can jump vertically up to 18 cm and horizontally up to 33cm, making the flea one of the best jumpers of all known animals (relative to body size), second only to the froghopper.
A flea’s entire body is designed to maximise eater—the head is surrounded by sharp spikes, and mouths are adept at piercing through a host’s skin and sucking out blood. Their bodies are laterally compressed, permitting easy movement through the hairs or feathers on the host’s body (or in the case of humans, under clothing). The flea body is hard, polished, and covered with many hairs and short spines directed backward, which also assist its movements on the host. The tough body is able to withstand great pressure, likely an adaptation to survive attempts to eliminate them by mashing or scratching. Even hard squeezing between the fingers is normally insufficient to kill a flea.
- Fleas are a type of wingless parasite that feeds off the blood of humans and animals such as dogs and cats.
- A flea bite is red, swollen and intensely itchy, and secondary infections caused by scratching are common.
- Treatment options include anesthetic creams and icepacks to reduce the swelling
- There are 2,500 species of fleas