- insects with wings, or insects whose ancestors had wings
These small (2 to 4 mm long) insects are parasitic, and suck blood primarily of mammals. The mouth parts are the piercing sucking type. Their development is gradual and their entire life cycle is spent on the host animal. Lice are brownish in colour, lack wings, and have flattened bodies. They have legs and claws that neatly grasp the hairs of their host (the animal they live on). Several kinds attack humans. Among these are the head and body lice. The louse is capable of carrying serious human diseases, including epidemic typhus. People who bathe and change clothes regularly seldom become infested with lice, but when they go for long periods without doing so and live in crowded conditions, lousiness is likely to prevail. The human louse Pediculus humanus is widespread in North America.
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