Turkey for Thanksgiving

Sticktight Flea

Sticktight Flea Infesting on the Head of a Turkey
Photo: P.E. Kaufman, U. FL.

Turkey is associated with Thanksgiving feasts. However, holiday revelers are not the only ones feeding on turkeys. A variety of insects will feed on turkey including the sticktight flea, Echidnophaga gallinacea. Sticktight fleas are not native to North America. They have been observed feeding on numerous species of birds and small mammals. It is called the sticktight flea because it feeds at a single site for weeks without moving. They especially infest the head around the eye. Severe infestations can cause anemia and the eye to swell shut affecting feeding behavior. They can be forcibly removed using forceps or controlled with flea products. The sticktight flea is most common in warm moist areas of the US such as Florida.

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
This entry was posted in by jjneal, Health, Invasive Species, Pest Management. Bookmark the permalink.

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