Phthiraptera (Lice)

Lice are obligate parasites of birds and mammals. On birds they usually feed on the feathers, and on mammals they generally feed on the skin.   Adults range from o.5 to 10mm and adults can be bare, or covered in hair-like setae.  They lay comparatively large eggs for their size and hatching nymph looks a lot like the adult.  Lice avoid light and can sense temperature and the smell of the host species.  They rely on temperatures slightly lower than the body temperature of the animal.  If the animal dies and cools, the lice will quickly slow and will die after one or two days if they are off the host. Lice can be transferred from one animal to another by direct contact or from sites where the animals commonly collect.  Three of the four suborders of Phthiraptera are found in Australia.  The fourth – Rhynchophthirina are parasites of elephants and warthogs.

Suborder Amblycera –  chewing lice found on birds and Gondwanan mammals

Suborder Ischnocera – chewing lice found mainly on birds.

Suborder Anoplura – sucking lice found only on mammals

Pediculus humanus capitis
Human Head Louse
Pending ID – Phthiraptera

Naumann, I. D & Naumann, I. D & CSIRO. Division of Entomology 1991, The Insects of Australia : a textbook for students and research workers, 2nd ed, Melbourne University Press, Carlton South, Vic
Louse (2021). Wikipedia. Available at: Accessed 24/4/21