The Sucking Lice (Phthiraptera: Anoplura) Of Georgia, USA: Hosts, Geographical Distributions, and Medical/Veterinary Importance

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Journal of Entomological Science


Twenty-five species of sucking lice (Phithiraptera: Anoplura) are recorded from Georgia, USA. One of these species is currently recognized as 2 distinct supecies, the body louse (Pediculus humanus humanus L.) and head louse (Pediculus humanus capitis De Geer) of by relatively rich faunas of sucking lice in Georgia with 3 characteristic species/subspecies recorded from each of these hosts within the state. Despite some previously publicshed erroneous host-louse records, most species of sucking lice are host specific in Georgia. Sucking lice have been recorded from domestic hogs, cattle equines, goats, and dogs in Georgia, and some of these lice can cause beterinary problems. The head louse from Georgia, especially in school children. the crab/pubic louse [Pthirus pubis (L.) also appears to be widespread in the state. We report only one verified record of th body louse from Georgia, but we suspect this louse persists focally in the state. In nature, the body louse is a vecor of at least 3 important pathogens: those that cause epidemic typhus, louse-borne relapsing fever, and trench fever. None of hese diseases are currently known to be circulating in human populations in Georgia, but "urban" trench fever could be present in some homeless populations. Flying squirrels and their lice are known reservoirs and vectors, respectively, of an enzootic cycle of Rickettsia prowazekii da Rocha-Lima which can infect humans causing sporadic epidemic typhus. Taxonomically, we correct the description date for 2 anopluran species, Polyplax serrata (Burmesiter) and Polyplax spinulosa (Burmeister), from 1839 to 1838.