Ectoparasites were collected from chemically immobilized swift foxes (Vulpes velox) in the Texas Panhandle (USA). Three species of fleas (Pulex irritans, Dactylopsylla percernis, and Euhoplopsyllus affinis) and one species of tick (Ixodes sculptus) were found. Pulex irritans was the only abundant ectoparasite; it occurred on all 23 foxes brushed in 1999–2000 and all but one of 34 hosts examined in 2000–01. Otherwise, this swift fox population had a depauperate ectoparasite fauna; the remainder of the ectoparasites only occurred on a few (≤5%) of the hosts. Because of previous taxonomic confusion between P. irritans and the closely related P. simulans, the zoogeographic distribution of these two species in many areas of western North America needs to be verified. Apparently, only the human flea P. irritans occurs on wild canids in the Texas Panhandle. However, there are previous records of P. simulans on other carnivores in western and central Texas. Some of these specimens were reexamined, and their identifications were reconfirmed. Also, the recent literature on the controversial taxonomic status of these two flea species is reviewed. The male terminal aedeagal sexual apparatus is the only means currently available to separate P. irritans and P. simulans.
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Vol. 40 • No. 3