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; class Insecta, subclass Pterygota)

An order of wingless, parasitic insects in which the adult body is flattened laterally. The larvae (maggots) feed on organic debris, undergo complete metamorphosis, and hatch from the pupa when this is disturbed by a possible host. Most adults are host-specific, although some have a wide range of hosts and others will feed on any host when very hungry. There are 1400–1500 species, of world-wide distribution, grouped in two suborders: Pulicida and Apulicida. The Pulicida includes the families Pulicidae (most flea parasites of mammals, some of which are vectors for serious diseases, e.g. pneumonic plague) and Tungidae (the jigger or sand flea).

Subjects: Zoology and Animal Sciences.

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