There are around 2,000 different types of fleas around the globe. Cat fleas, dog fleas, human fleas, and rat fleas are the most common.
Although most people identify fleas with their dogs, fleas may feed on any warm-blooded animal, including humans.
Fleas lack wings and hence cannot fly. They move about by jumping with their massive legs. An adult flea can jump 12 inches or more, which is more than 150 times their height.
They also travel by traveling on their host.” They’ve chosen this animal or human as their blood feast.
The female adult flea spends most of its life on the host animal, feasting on their blood and laying hundreds of eggs daily.
Fleas are quite harmful in terms of disease transmission. They can be transported to a wide range of locations due to their capacity to travel with the host animal.
This was the situation with the Bubonic plague, which decimated Europe many years ago. Below are the different types of fleas we may find on our pets, livestock, and even on ourselves.
1. Cat Flea (Ctenocephalides felis)
The cat flea is the most known type of domestic flea and is notably common in North America. one can also find it in other parts of the world.
Despite its name, the cat flea feeds on both felines and dogs, and it will also occasionally bite humans who are close to infested animals.
The microscopic flea that lives on cats is between one and three millimeters long and has a reddish-brown appearance.
These wingless insects can make incredible leaps thanks to their elongated bodies, muscular hind legs, and flattened bodies.
Cats Fleas have a relatively short lifespan but a very high reproductive rate. Adult females can lay an egg as frequently as once every hour.
White in color, oval in shape, and measuring up to 0.5 millimeters in length, the cat flea’s eggs are quite small.
Because of their smooth and dry surface, they can easily slide off your animal’s hair and rest on the carpets and furnishings throughout your home. They will eventually hatch into larvae if conditions are favorable.
2. Dog Fleas (Ctenocephalides canis)
Dog fleas are another different types of fleas that feed on a wide variety of mammalian species, including people, cats, rabbits, rats, foxes, woodchucks, dogs, and other canine and feline companions.
Both dog fleas and cat fleas appear nearly identical to the naked eye; they can grow to be as long as 2 millimeters in length, lack wings, and have a reddish-brown color.
Using a microscope, one can see that the dog flea has a more rounded head than the cat flea and that the dog flea has more ‘teeth’ on its legs than the cat flea does.
The minute distinctions between these two species can only be noticed under a microscope. In the course of her life, which ranges anywhere from two to four weeks on average, an adult female dog flea is capable of laying hundreds of eggs.
Fleas that live on dogs are constantly laying eggs within their fur. These flea eggs, which are smooth and dry like cat flea eggs, fall off your pet’s coat and onto various surfaces in your home as they make their way about the house.
3. Human Fleas (Pulex irritans)
Another species found throughout the world that typically infests larger carnivores, including people, is the human flea.
In North America, they are much more frequent than dog fleas, and they cause irritation and itching in people who come into contact with them.
In addition to being extremely irritating, The bites of the human flea have the potential to pass on parasites and diseases such as typhus and tapeworm.
Pulex irritans is also the species that is responsible for carrying the Yersinia pestis bacteria, which caused the devastating plague that ravaged communities all over the world throughout history.
In appearance, human fleas are similar to other flea species in that they are rusty brown in color, lack wings, and have a flat lateral body.
They can reach a length of up to 4 millimeters, making them slightly longer than cats and dog fleas. The lifecycle of the human flea is comparable to that of other different types of fleas.
The best places for these fleas to reproduce are barns and stables because the manure and debris will keep the eggs warm and moist after falling to the ground.
Compared to most flea species, Human fleas have an exceptionally long lifespan and can live for up to two years. They do so throughout the year, and the eggs usually hatch within four to six days after being laid.
4. Hen Fleas (Ceratophyllus gallinae)
Hen flea is another different types of fleas that live on birds and is commonly referred to as the hen flea in Europe or the European chicken flea in other parts of the world.
The mature Ceratophyllus gallinae is around 2 to 2.5 mm (0.08 to 0.10 in) in length, has a brown coloration, and is laterally flattened.
These parasites have a pair of basic eyes, a proboscis for sucking blood, and a characteristic set of four to six bristles on the hind leg. Spines are not present on the segments of the legs that make up the base of the organism.
Fleas, such as C. gallinae that live in nests typically establish a set mating season that coincides with their host. In connection with this is the ability of the parasite to live independently of the host.
In environments like hen houses, breeders, batteries, and the like, bird fleas can rapidly multiply. Fortunately, bird fleas can only survive for a brief period indoors and can only reproduce in the nests of other birds.
It is a good idea to give nesting boxes a careful and complete cleaning in the early spring periods.
5. Oriental Rat Flea (Xenopsylla cheopis)
Oriental rat flea, often known as the tropical rat flea, is a rodent parasite and the main vector of bubonic plague and murine typhus.
This unfortunate incident happened when the flea bites a human after feeding on an infected rodent. However, this flea can live on any warm-blooded mammal.
The Oriental rat flea does not have a genal comb (dark, comb-like bristles on the face and behind the head). This feature distinguishes the Oriental rat flea from the cat flea, dog flea, and other fleas.
The flea’s body is roughly half an inch long (about 2.5 mm). Its body is designed to make long-distance jumping easier.
The flea’s body has three sections: the head, the thorax, and the abdomen. Rows of bristles (called combs) cover the head and thorax, while the abdomen has eight visible segments.
The flea lacks wings and hence cannot fly, but it can jump large distances using its short legs.
It can spring up to 200 times its body length because of these muscular legs (about 20 or 50 cm).
The oriental rat flea can thrive in dry climates with temperatures ranging from 20 to 25 degrees Celsius (68 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit).
They are also capable of surviving up to a year and can spend that time in the cocoon stage if conditions are not favorable.
6. Rabbit flea(Spilopsyllus cuniculi)
Lastly on our list of different types of fleas is the rabbit flea, which belongs to the Pulicidae family, an external parasite of rabbits and hares.
It can also occasionally be detected on dogs, cats, and some seabirds nest in burrows. It is a vector for the virus that causes myxomatosis, a potentially fatal disease in rabbits.
Eyelid and lip swelling, conjunctivitis, and the development of skin tumors on the face, ears, and limbs are among the symptoms. The virus can remain alive in the flea’s mouth parts for at least 100 days.
The Bartonella alsatica bacterium, an infection that affects both humans and animals, has also been linked to rabbit flea.
The rabbit flea is a dark brown color and around 1 mm (0.04 inches) in length. It lacks wings, has three sets of legs, and a laterally compressed body, alongside strong mouth parts that can pierce its host’s skin and suck their blood.
The rabbit flea is a parasite that typically lives on rabbits and hares, but it can also infrequently be on cats and dogs. Although it can penetrate an animal’s fur, it typically gathers in clumps at the base of the host’s ears.