Lice: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Light micrograph of Fahrenholzia pinnata
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Subclass: Pterygota
Infraclass: Neoptera
Order: Phthiraptera
Haeckel, 1896


Lice (singular: louse), also known as fly babies, is the common name for over 3000 species of wingless insects of the order Phthiraptera; three of which are classified as human disease agents. They are obligate ectoparasites of every avian and mammalian order except for Monotremes (the platypus and echidnas), bats, whales, dolphins, porpoises and pangolins.



Most lice are scavengers, feeding on skin and other debris found on the host's body, but some species feed on sebaceous secretions and blood. Most are found only on specific types of animal, and, in some cases, only to a particular part of the body; some animals are known to host up to fifteen different species, although one to three is typical for mammals, and two to six for birds. For example, in humans, different species of louse inhabit the scalp and pubic hair. Lice generally cannot survive for long if removed from their host.[1]

A louse's color varies from pale beige to dark gray; however, if feeding on blood, it may become considerably darker. Female lice are usually more common than the males, and some species are even known to be parthenogenetic. A louse's egg is commonly called a nit. Many lice attach their eggs to their host's hair with specialized saliva; the saliva/hair bond is very difficult to sever without specialized products. Lice inhabiting birds, however, may simply leave their eggs in parts of the body inaccessible to preening, such as the interior of feather shafts. Living lice eggs tend to be pale white. Dead lice eggs are more yellow.[1]

Lice are exopterygotes, being born as miniature versions of the adult, known as nymphs. The young moult three times before reaching the final adult form, which they usually reach within a month of hatching.[1]


World War II-era American poster, created to prevent the transmission of lice between servicemen.

The order has traditionally been divided into two suborders, the sucking lice (Anoplura) and the chewing lice (Mallophaga); however, recent classifications suggest that the Mallophaga are paraphyletic and four suborders are now recognised:

It has been suggested that the order is contained by the Troctomorpha suborder of Psocoptera.

Lice and humans

Humans host three different kinds of lice: head lice, body lice , and pubic lice. The DNA differences between head lice and body lice provide corroborating evidence that humans started losing body hair about 2,000,000 years ago.[2]

Recent DNA evidence suggests that pubic lice spread to humans approximately 2,000,000 years ago from gorillas.[3]

Adult and nymphal lice can survive on sheep-shearers' moccasins for up to 10 days, but microwaving the footwear for five minutes in a plastic bag will kill the lice.[4]

Lice infestations can be controlled with lice combs, and medicated shampoos or washes.


See also


  1. ^ a b c Hoell, H.V., Doyen, J.T. & Purcell, A.H. (1998). Introduction to Insect Biology and Diversity, 2nd ed.. Oxford University Press. pp. 407–409. ISBN 0-19-510033-6. 
  2. ^ John Travis (2003-08-23) ( – Scholar search). The naked truth? Lice hint at a recent origin of clothing. 164. Science News. pp. 118. 
  3. ^ David L Reed, Jessica E Light, Julie M Allen and Jeremy J Kirchman (2007). [ "Pair of lice lost or parasites regained: the evolutionary history of anthropoid primate lice"]. BMC Biology 5: 7. doi:10.1186/1741-7007-5-7. 
  4. ^ Sheep parasites Retrieved on 10 November 2008

External links


Up to date as of January 15, 2010
(Redirected to lice article)

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also -lice



Wikipedia has an article on:





  1. Plural form of louse.


Scottish Gaelic


lice f.

  1. Genitive of leac.



From Proto-Slavic *lice.


  • IPA: /lǐːtse/
  • Hyphenation: li‧ce


líce n. (Cyrillic spelling ли́це)

  1. face
  2. (grammar) person




From Proto-Slavic *lice.


lice n.

  1. face

Bible wiki

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From BibleWiki

(Heb. kinnim), the creatures employed in the third plague sent upon Egypt (Ex 8:16ff). They were miraculously produced from the dust of the land. "The entomologists Kirby and Spence place these minute but disgusting insects in the very front rank of those which inflict injury upon man. A terrible list of examples they have collected of the ravages of this and closely allied parasitic pests." The plague of lice is referred to in Ps 10531.

Some have supposed that the word denotes not lice properly, but gnats. Others, with greater probability, take it to mean the "tick" which is much larger than lice.

This entry includes text from Easton's Bible Dictionary, 1897.

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