Wednesday 10 April 2013

A new species of Flea from the Philippines.

Fleas of the Family Stivaliidae are found across Africa, Australasia and Southeast Asia. They are specialist parasites of Rodents and Shrews (and occasionally Birds), spending much of their life-cycle living in the host's nest, rather than on the animal itself. Their closest relatives, Pygiopsylid and Lycopsyllid Fleas, are mainly parasites of Marsupials and Monotremes.

In a paper published in the journal ZooKeys on 18 January 2013, Michael Hastriter of the Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum at Brigham Young University and Sarah Bush of the Department of Biology at the University of Utah describe a new species of Stivaliid Flea found living on Luzon Shrews (Crocidura grayi) on Luzon Island in the Philippines.

The new species is placed in the genus Lentistivalius, which is found on Mice and Shrews (and in one case Birds) across Southeast Asia, and given the specific name philippinensis, meaning from the Philippines. It is a 2.5 mm spiny flea with a prominent spur on its hind limb, named from two male specimens, the female being unknown.

Lentistivalius philippinensis. Scale bar is 500 ╬╝m. Hastriter & Bush (2013).

The location where Lentistivalius philippinensis was discovered.

See also Giant Fleas from the Jurassic of China.

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