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Ectoparasites - Haematopinus

Haematopinus eurysternus: Short-nosed cattle louse. Rare in New Zealand.

General Description: Wingless, flattened insect, 3.4 to 4.8mm long and fairly broad with mouth parts adapted for sucking. The nose referred to in the name is actually a short head. The legs have claws at the end which are used for hanging onto hair.

Life Cycle: Typical life cycle of lice takes 1 month.

Location: Most often found on protected areas of skin: side of neck, brisket, back, head, and between the legs.

Geographical Distribution: Widely distributed throughout the world.

Significance: This is a common parasite of cattle which can cause serious damage if present in large numbers.

Effects on Host: Louse worry is great, causing cattle to lick, scratch, and rub affected areas. This causes the coat to become rough. Anaemia may arise if infestation is heavy. Anaemia leads to debilitation which makes animals susceptible to infectious diseases and extremes in environmental temperature.

Diagnostic Information: Lice may be seen on skin.

Control: Insecticides in various preparations are effective.

Haematopinus – adult   Nit attached to hair   Scanning electron microscope photo – Haematopinus – attached to hair

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