"So, naturalists observe, a flea has smaller fleas that on him prey; and these have smaller still to bite ’em; and so proceed ad infinitum."
- Jonathan Swift

July 29, 2010

July 29 - Haematopinus quadripertusus

Haematopinus quadripertusus, commonly called the cattle tail louse, get its name because, well, because it lives on the tails of cattle. These lice will actually take their blood meals from both ends of the cow, however, and can also be found on the mouth and in the ears as well as some of the soft bits on the backside. This louse was introduced into the Southern U.S. and is now a major pest of cattle in Florida, where they can cause anemia and weight loss - not something you want if you're trying to fatten up your cattle. Lice can spread from cow to cow when they are in close contact or via rubbing on the same thing such as a post. But, the lice can also colonize completely different herds of cattle by hitching rides on flies!

Image from this site, which has additional information on these parasites.


  1. I've had this on my shin in BRITAIN! Peeled it off like any other scab and looked at it under 400 and 800X - the image was like something out the nightmares of everyone, so I hope I took one for the team there.

    The main differences were that the one in the pic here didn't have a face like they were pulling it purposefully, and that its guts weren't hanging out whilst the blood slowly clotted (and it was slow).

    Question is - where did I get it? I live in N. England, but if that's not the critter (and it looks like it blooming well was, except for the blood).

    I do/did wear boxers in the summer and I dare say the winter. Should I 'upgrade' to tracky bottoms with bottoms tucked in? Cringe ye not! Yet...

  2. Lice do not cross species. This is a lice the infests cows, not humans.

  3. Hi all, MicrOlivier here again, passionnate of microscopy and parasitology, if this specimen of Anoploura is so common, would it be possible to get some examplaries to make some nice microscopic photos for the web ?

    Here is what can be done with an Haematonius suis species.

    Let me know if it would be possible to get some examplaries of Haematopinus quadripertusus. We would be happy to give you in exchange some nice microscopic mounts...

    Thanks for your blog. Cheers !