Faculty Publications

The Flea (Siphonaptera) Fauna Of Georgia, U.S.A: Hosts, Distribution And Medical-Veterinary Importance

Document Type



flea distribution

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Annals of Carnegie Museum





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Host and distribution data are provided for the 26 species of fleas recorded from Georgia, U.S.A.: Cediopsylla inaequalis, C. simplex (rabbit flea), Ctenocephalides canis (dog flea), C. felis (cat flea), Echidnophaga gallinacea (sticktight flea), Pulex irritans (human flea), P. simulans, Xenopsylla cheopis (Oriental rat flea), Polygenis gwyni, Conorhinopsylla stanfordi, Ctenophthalmus pseuadagyrtes, Doratopsylla blarinae, Epitedia cavernicola, E. wenmanni, Nearctopsylla Georgiana, Stenoponia Americana, Ceratophyllus celsus, Nosopsyilus fasciatus (northern rat flea), Orchopeas howardi (squirrel flea), O. leucopus, O. pennsylvanicus, Leptopsylla segnis (European mouse flea), Odontopsyllus multispinosus, Peromyscopsylla hesperomys, P. scotti and Sternopsylla distincta texana. Three of these species, P. gwyni, N. georgiana and O. howardi, were described from Georgia specimens. While some of these flea species appear to be widely distributed throughout Georgia, C. inaequalis represents an introduction on hosts introduced for hunting from western North America, D. blarinae, E. cavernicola, N. georgiana, C. celsus and P. hesperomys were recorded only from Piedmont or mountainous regions in northern Georgia, and P. gwyni was mainly recorded in the Coastal Plain of southern Georgia. Nearctopsylla georgiana is known from only a single specimen and has never been recorded outside of northern Georgia. Fleas associated with domestic rats (Rattus norvegicus and R. rattus) were abundant in Georgia, especially coastal and southern Georgia during the 1930s1950s but currently appear to be uncommon in the state. There were concerted control efforts against Rattus spp. and their fleas during that time period because of their reservoir and vector status, respectively, for Rickettsia typhi, the causative agent of murine (endemic) typhus. Human cases of murine typhus in Georgia have almost disappeared in recent decades. Other flea-borne diseases in Georgia include cat flea rickettsiosis caused by Rickettsia felis, bartonellosis (including cat scratch disease caused by Bartonella henselae), and sylvatic epidemic typhus caused by certain strains of Rickettsia prowazekii. Further, cat and dog fleas are intermediate hosts of the double-pored tapeworm, Dipylidium caninum, which typically infects dogs but can also infect cats and humans if infected fleas are inadvertently ingested. Human and pet-biting fleas such as the cat flea can also cause flea-bite dermatitis in dogs, cats and humans. Poultry fleas such as E. gallinacea currently appear to be uncommon on domesticated birds in Georgia but this flea sometimes infests chickens, dogs and some other mammals in fairly large numbers.


Department of Biology

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