Oriental rat flea Xenopsylla cheopis, from here.

Belongs within: Siphonaptera.

The Pulicidae is a family of fleas including some species of the most significance for humans, such as the human flea Pulex irritans, the dog and cat fleas Ctenocephalides spp., and the Oriental rat flea Xenopsylla cheopis. Pulex irritans is the only flea species known to habitually parasitise a primate. Xenopsylla cheopis is notorious as the primary vector for the plague bacterium Yersinia pestis. Females of the chigoe flea or jigger Tunga penetrans burrow into the skin of mammals including humans, leaving only the tip of the abdomen exposed for excretion, mating and laying eggs.

Characters (from Brinck-Lindroth & Smit 2007): Terga II-VII each with only one row of setae. Mesonotum without pseudosetae under collar; metanotum and terga without marginal spinelets or ctenidia. Head without anterior tentorial rod. Outer internal ridge of mid coxa absent; hind coxa with a row or group of small spiniform setae on lower part of inner side; hind tibia without an apical tooth on outside. No setae above spiracular fossa of tergum VIII.

<==Pulicidae [Pulicoidea]
    |--Tunga [Tungidae, Tunginae] GE05
    |    `--T. penetrans GE05
    `--Archaeopsyllini KP19
         |--Archaeopsylla erinacei A71
         `--Ctenocephalides KP19
              |--C. canis DM91
              `--C. felis (Bouché 1835) H82

Pulicidae incertae sedis:
  Hoplopsyllus anomalus TW05
  Typhlopsylla typhlus K01
  Spilopsyllus cuniculi DM91
  Pulex Linnaeus 1758 L58
    |--P. echidnae O86
    |--P. fasciatus Bosc 1800 B00
    |--P. irritans Linnaeus 1758 L58
    |--P. (Pulex) larimerius R02
    `--P. penetrans Linnaeus 1758 L58
  Echidnophaga Olliff 1886 O86
    |--*E. ambulans Olliff 1886 O86
    |--E. eyrei DM91
    |--E. gallinacea GE05
    |--E. murina KK54
    |--E. myrmecobii DM91
    |--E. octotricha DM91
    `--E. perilis W91
  Xenopsylla GE05
    |--X. astia A71
    |--X. bechuanae SEC08
    |--X. brasiliensis SEC08
    |--X. cheopis GE05
    |--X. cornigera SEC08
    |--X. cryptonella SEC08
    |--X. erilli SEC08
    |--X. hamula SEC08
    |--X. nubica SEC08
    |--X. philoxera SEC08
    |--X. piriei SEC08
    |--X. scopulifer SEC08
    |--X. trifaria SEC08
    |--X. versuta SEC08
    `--X. vexabilis DM91
         |--X. v. vexabilis D70
         `--X. v. meseris D70

*Type species of generic name indicated


[A71] Askew, R. R. 1971. Parasitic Insects. Heinemann Educational Books: London.

[B00] Bosc, C. 1800. Description d'une nouvelle espèce de puce (Pulex fasciatus). Bulletin des Sciences, par la Societé Philomathique de Paris 2 (44): 156.

[D70] Dunnet, G. M. 1970. Siphonaptera (fleas). In: CSIRO. The Insects of Australia: A textbook for students and research workers pp. 647–655. Melbourne University Press.

[DM91] Dunnet, G. M., & D. K. Mardon. 1991. Siphonaptera (fleas). In: CSIRO. The Insects of Australia: A textbook for students and research workers 2nd ed. vol. 2 pp. 705–716. Melbourne University Press: Carlton (Victoria).

[GE05] Grimaldi, D., & M. S. Engel. 2005. Evolution of the Insects. Cambridge University Press: New York.

[H82] Helmore, D. W. 1982. Drawings of New Zealand insects. Bulletin of the Entomological Society of New Zealand 8: 1–52.

[KP19] Kawahara, A. Y., D. Plotkin, M. Espeland, K. Meusemann, E. F. A. Toussaint, A. Donath, F. Gimnich, P. B. Frandsen, A. Zwick, M. dos Reis, J. R. Barber, R. S. Peters, S. Liu, X. Zhou, C. Mayer, L. Podsiadlowski, C. Storer, J. E. Yack, B. Misof & J. W. Breinholt. 2019. Phylogenomics reveals the evolutionary timing and pattern of butterflies and moths. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 116 (45): 22657–22663.

[K01] Kertész, K. 1901. Legyek [Dipteren]. In: Horváth, G. (ed.) Zichy Jenő Gróf Harmadik Ázsiai Utazása [Dritte Asiatische Forschungsreise des Grafen Eugen Zichy] vol. 2. Zichy Jenő Gróf Harmadik Ázsiai Utazásának Állattani Eredményei [Zoologische Ergebnisse der Dritten Asiatischen Forschungsreise des Grafen Eugen Zichy] pp. 179–201. Victor Hornyánszky: Budapest, and Karl W. Hierseman: Leipzig.

[KK54] Klemmer, K., & H. E. Krampitz. 1954. Zur Kenntnis der Säugetierfauna Siziliens. Senckenbergiana Biologica 35 (3–4): 121–135.

[L58] Linnaeus, C. 1758. Systema Naturae per Regna Tria Naturae, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis. Tomus I. Editio decima, reformata. Laurentii Salvii: Holmiae.

[O86] Olliff, A. S. 1886. Description of a new aphanipterous insect from New South Wales. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales, series 2, 1 (1): 171–172.

[R02] Rasnitsyn, A. P. 2002. Order Pulicida Billbergh, 1820. The fleas (=Aphaniptera). In: Rasnitsyn, A. P., & D. L. J. Quicke (eds) History of Insects pp. 240–242. Kluwer Academic Publishers: Dordrecht.

[SEC08] Shihepo, F., S. Eiseb & P. Cunningham. 2008. Fleas (Insecta: Siphonaptera) associated with small mammals in selected areas in northern Namibia. Journal Namibia Wissenschaftliche Gesellschaft 56: 5–23.

[TW05] Terry, M. D., & M. F. Whiting. 2005. Mantophasmatodea and phylogeny of the lower neopterous insects. Cladistics 21: 240–257.

[W91] Waterhouse, D. F. 1991. Insects and humans in Australia. In: CSIRO. The Insects of Australia: A textbook for students and research workers 2nd ed. vol. 1 pp. 221–235. Melbourne University Press: Carlton (Victoria).

Last updated: 24 April 2022.

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