Fleas

Order: Siphonaptera

Some 84 species within nine families in Australia. Mouthparts piercing and sucking, and both male and female fleas feed on blood, which they suck from their hosts by cutting through the skin, injecting the wound with an anticoagulant and siphoning up the blood. Individuals are able to survive several months without a blood meal. They are small (up to 10 mm), wingless, with laterally compressed bodies, and are well-known for their strong jumping ability, powered by the greatly elongated hind legs. The rat flea Xenopsylla cheopis is well known for spreading disease to humans, and responsible for the infamous bubonic plague, but other species can also be a human pest. Almost all fleas feed on blood of mammals.