Female human flea, Pulex irritans

  • David Linstead
  • Digital Images
  • Online

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This image is a high resolution picture of a female human flea, Pulex irritans. The image was created by stitching together 79 individual images at X25 total magnification, thus producing a detail-rich image. This image was produced using a technique called differential interference contrast (DIC) microscopy, which enhaces the contrast of the unstained sample. The microscope used was a Nikon Diaphot equipped with a long working distance DIC condenser. The objective was a X10 Plan DIC with a numerical aperture of 0.25. The camera used was a Canon EOS 40D. The total magnification at the camera sensor was X25. Fleas bite their hosts causing a skin reaction and a condition known as Pulicosis. Flea bites cause an itching sensation and some people and animals can suffer from an allergic reaction to flea saliva, resulting in a rash. Fleas can also act as a vector for disease, transmitting a variety of viral and bacterial infections.


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