Researchers Are Solving A Mystery About Cat Fleas in Africa

There are approximately 2500 species or even subspecies discovered globally. The small parasites commonly target domestic and wildlife animals.

If you discover a flea on your pet cat or dog, it is probably a cat flea — both the species and its own subspecies most commonly seen on domestic animals. And it will more than create your pet itching. Additionally, it may transmit tapeworms and take several pathogens which cause illness in humans and their pets equally.

However, despite their incidence and the dangers that they present, researchers do not know a lot about their motto — which is, the number of subspecies you will find, and if a number of those subspecies are in fact full species — and even supply. What we do understand is that Africa is a hot place for your cat flea. It is also the continent where this specific flea originated.

We have already completed research on a different frequent flea, Dinopsyllus ellobius, that can be clinically significant. It’s among the most important plague vectors in southern Africa, taking the germs Yersinia pestis, also can be located on many rodent species.

For our work on the flea, we have completed a literary overview that reveals how little is understood concerning the subspecies. We have gathered a few flea samples — also have requested regular pet owners around South Africa to become flea predators. We expect that by getting individuals to send us flea samples out of their dogs and cats, we could fill in gaps in our understanding. With this information, together with our genetic evaluation, we might get a clearer idea regarding the best approaches to pest control and disease control.

A Lack of True Data

This is because it is common on pets all around the world. Two other subspecies which are limited to the African continent have received less attention.

That makes it hard to understand what sort of flea you are handling.

Our analysis will investigate both the genetic and morphological differences within a bid to correctly delineate species or subspecies. That amount of detail will enable us to create precise classifications essential to make integrative pest management programs and appropriate methods to disease management.

In addition, we must comprehend the foundation of the cat flea and its roots.

As opposed to operating from limited samples at one geographic area, we chose to attempt to gather as many fleas as possible. And that is where pet owners arrive in.

Collecting Flea Samples

Collecting pests from pets seems to be a simple job — but it is really easier said than done. Most pets just have a couple fleas, and these small critters also have evolved over thousands of years to evade host dressing; making them difficult to catch.

We’re trying this seemingly hopeless task by coming private pet owners, veterinary clinics and animal welfare organisations to assist accumulate as many fleas out of as many places across South Africa as you can. That is a whole lot of fleas.

Pet owners, also, have responded fast. The fleas have to be put into a small container full of 100% ethanol, then sealed nicely. Folks then send their samples to me personally, or a part of the group collects them.

This is not the first time ordinary individuals are roped into scientific study. Citizen scientists have helped to record creatures and plants from the Karoo area; to monitor an invasive beetle that strikes and inserts its lethal fungus ally in trees, plus far more. Now we are adding fleas to this listing, and we expect that with sufficient samples from sufficient pet owners, we will have the ability to answer crucial questions about your flea and find out better ways to maintain this insect.