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Ectoparasites - Solenopotes

Solenopotes capillatus: Little blue sucking louse or hairy cattle louse. Rare in New Zealand

General Description: These small sucking lice have a membranous abdomen covered with numerous hairs. They present a head longer than wider and also longer than the thorax. A differential characteristic of S. capillatus is the presence of abdominal spiracles set on slightly sclerotic tubercles which project from the abdomen.

Life Cycle: Typical life cycle of lice takes 4 to 5 weeks. As most of the sucking lice, they die within a week or less away from the host.

Location: Most often found on the head and neck of cattle of all ages.

Geographical Distribution: Europe, U.S.A., Australia, and South America.

Significance: Effect of parasitism may be server in calves, young stock, and old poorly nourished animals. The intensity of infestation may be influenced by the condition of the skin and hair coat, the temperature of the skin surface, and the intensity of the light.

Effects on Host: As with other cattle lice, these irritate the skin while sucking blood. Efforts to relieve the irritation by rubbing and scratching may result in large areas of skin being denuded and inflamed by the friction. Heavily parasitised animals may become anaemic.

Diagnostic Information: Lice may be seen on the skin.

Control: Insecticides are effective in various preparations.

Solenopotes adult   Typical lesion caused by blue cattle louse

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