Flea infestation in a Nigerian local chicken:

  • B A Agboola
  • B D Remi-Adewunmi
  • R I Agbede
Keywords: <i>Echidnophaga gallinacea</i>, Infestation, Chicken, Nigeria


Fleas refer to a blood-sucking wingless insect of the Order: Siphonaptera. They are parasites in their own right and also act as vectors which transmit diseases (Soulsby, 1982). Their bites leave wounds which become portals of entry for infection. There are three important Genera fleas that infest poultry. Echidnophaga gallinacea, the small stick fast (stick tight) flea, belongs to the Family: Pulicidae and is found in warm countries (Soulsby, 1982). It is unique among poultry fleas because the adults become sessile parasites and remain attached to the skin of the head for days or sometimes weeks. The flea spends much of its adult life on the host and feeds only on blood and causes intense irritation and related allergic dermatitis. The adult females forcibly eject their eggs so that they reach surrounding litter (Philips, 2005). These hatch into larvae which develop in sandy, well drained litter and feed mainly on organic matter. After pupating in a cocoon, the flea completes its life cycle. The adult flea can be found on chickens, turkeys, pigeons, pheasants, quail, man as well as many other mammals (Soulsby, 1982). Irritation and blood loss may cause anemia and death especially in young birds (Philips, 2005).

Keywords: Echidnophaga gallinacea, Infestation, Chicken, Nigeria

Nigerian Veterinary Journal Vol. 28 (2) 2007 pp. 57-59

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eISSN: 0331-3026