Oct 30, 1975

The jumping mechanism of Xenopsylla cheopis. I. Exoskeletal structures and musculature

Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences
M Rothschild, J Schlein


The jumping apparatus of the flea, which includes highly modified direct and indirect flight muscles, is described: attention is drawn to the various specializations of the exoskeleton which stiffen the thorax and also provide the 'click' mechanism triggering take-off. A finger-like invagination of tall cells within the cavity of the developing pleural arch of the pharate adult secretes the resilin pad. This is illustrated with coloured photographs. It is suggested that winglessness of a Mecopteran-like ancestor pre-adapted fleas to a parasitic life-style, and that a jumping mode of progression was a primitive feature of the whole Order. Scattered throughout the Siphonaptera today are species which have secondarily lost the pleural arch and with it the power to execute large jumps. These are usually found among fleas parasitizing mammals inhabiting caves, subterranean burrows and runs, high aerial nests and snow or ice-bound habitats. Large pleural arches are associated with fleas infesting large mobile hosts.

  • References3
  • Citations16


  • References3
  • Citations16


Mentioned in this Paper

Flea Infestation
Anatomic Structures
Set of Muscles
Body Cavities
Dental Caries

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