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J Med Entomol. 1991 May;28(3):394-400.

Blood consumption by the cat flea, Ctenocephalides felis (Siphonaptera: Pulicidae).

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Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana 47907.


The volume of blood consumed by actively reproducing female cat fleas, Ctenocephalides felis (Bouché), while feeding in confinement feeding chambers on cats for 3 h, was investigated using two radionuclide blood tags (51Cr-erythrocyte and 125I-albumin) and the gravimetric method. Female fleas consumed an average of 0.110 ml (+/- 0.026 ml) of blood per 100 females in 3 h as determined using the dual radionuclide system. The single 51Cr-erythrocyte tag overestimated blood consumption by 11.3% and the single 125I-albumin tag underestimated blood consumption by 6.4%. The gravimetric method underestimated blood consumption by 72.2% compared with the dual radionuclide value. Investigations of blood consumption of nonconfined female fleas were conducted with cats housed in metabolic cages and restricted from grooming. These investigations were conducted using the single 51Cr-erythrocyte tag, and the data obtained were corrected to compensate for using a single erythrocyte tag. Female cat fleas consumed an average of 13.6 microliters (+/- 2.7 microliters) of blood per day, which was equivalent to 15.15 times their body weight. In an additional study, direct exposure to 40 kHz ultrasound did not reduce blood consumption by the fleas.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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