Lance A. Durden, Edie E. Willis, Allison M. Garretson, Marina E. Eremeeva
Journal of Entomological Science 49 (3), 246-272, (1 July 2014) https://doi.org/10.18474/0749-8004-49.3.246
KEYWORDS: sucking lice, Anoplura, Phthiraptera, Georgia, hosts, geographical distribution, medical importance, veterinary importance
Twenty-five species of sucking lice (Phthiraptera: Anoplura) are recorded from Georgia, USA. One of these species is currently recognized as 2 distinct subspecies, the body louse (Pediculus humanus humanus L.) and head louse (Pediculus humanus capitis De Geer) of humans. Gray squirrels, southern flying squirrels, humans, and domestic cattle are parasitized by relatively rich faunas of sucking lice in Georgia with 3 characteristic species/subspecies recorded from each of these hosts within the state. Despite some previously published erroneous host-louse records, most species of sucking lice are host specific in Georgia. Sucking lice have been recorded from domestic hogs, cattle, equines, goats, and dogs in Georgia, and some of these lice can cause veterinary problems. The head louse is common in Georgia, especially in school children. The crab/pubic louse [Pthirus pubis (L.)] also appears to be widespread in the state. We report only one verified record of the body louse from Georgia, but we suspect this louse persists focally in the state. In nature, the body louse is a vector of at least 3 important pathogens: those that cause epidemic typhus, louse-borne relapsing fever, and trench fever. None of these diseases are currently known to be circulating in human populations in Georgia, but “urban” trench fever could be present in some homeless populations. Flying squirrels and their lice are known reservoirs and vectors, respectively, of an enzootic cycle of Rickettsia prowazekii da Rocha-Lima which can infect humans causing sporadic epidemic typhus. Taxonomically, we correct the description date for 2 anopluran species, Polyplax serrata (Burmesiter) and Polyplax spinulosa (Burmeister), from 1839 to 1838.