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Sucking lice

Sucking lice (Anoplura) have around 500 species and represent the smaller of the two traditional suborders of lice. The Anoplura are all blood-feeding ectoparasites of mammals. They can cause localised skin irritations and are vectors of several blood-borne diseases.

At least three species of Anoplura are parasites of humans. Pediculus humanus is divided into two subspecies, Pediculus humanus humanus (the body louse) and Pediculus humanus capitis (the head louse). Phthirus pubis (the pubic louse) is the cause of the embarrassing condition known as crabs.

The Anoplura are divided into 15 families:

  • Echinophthiriidae
  • Enderleinellidae
  • Haematopinidae
  • Hamophthiriidae
  • Hoplopleuridae
  • Hybothiridae
  • Linognathidae
  • Microthoraciidae
  • Neolinognathidae
  • Pecaroecidae
  • Pedicinidae
  • Pediculidae
  • Phthiridae
  • Polyplacidae
  • Ratemiidae

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