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Lice undergo an incomplete metamorphosis which takes place entirely on the host within a period of 3-5 weeks. The eggs, commonly called "nits", are glued to the feathers of the host. The young lice develop through several nymphal stages, during which they look like small, pale adults. Nymphs and adults are transmitted from one animal to another primarily by direct host contact.

Lipeurus caponis
Type: Chewing Lice
Zoonotic: No
Definitive Hosts: Birds
Inf Site: Skin (Epidermis)
Dx Tech: Direct Observation
Dx Stage: Adult with 6 Legs, Nymph with 6 Legs, Eggs("nits") on Hairs


Lipeurus caponis

Phylum Arthropoda
Class Insecta
Order Mallophaga
Suborder Ischnocera

Lipeurus caponis

Careful examination of the underside of the wing feathers of infested animals will reveal the slender, long lice and their eggs. Restlessness and anemia are two of the most outstanding clinical signs that should suggest pediculosis. Chewing lice are small (up to 3 mm), with large heads which are rounded anteriorly and occupy the width of the body. The mouthparts are ventral and the claws are small.

Lipeurus caponis

Chewing lice feed by nibbling on the feathers and epidermal debris, although some of them ingest blood by piercing the pulp of feathers or gnawing through the epidermis. The species which feed on birds are also able to digest keratin, so they can eat feathers and down. Chewing lice annoy their hosts primarily by irritating the skin surface. A few lice are generally well tolerated, whereas large numbers may cause severe irritation, resulting in self-trauma. This may allow for secondary bacterial infections and/or fly infestation, making the host more susceptible to other diseases. In general, lice are much more of a problem in young or debilitated animals than in older, well- nourished animals. A heavy louse infestation may itself be merely a symptom of some other underlying condition, such as malnutrition or chronic disease; debilitated animals often do not groom themselves and leave the lice undisturbed.

Lipeurus caponis

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