©Michael Patrick Corriss

Phthirus pubis typically parasitizes a human host. It is a "sucking lice," a characteristic of the Anoplura class, meaning that it has a distinctive mouthpart lacking in functional mandibles, but instead has four slender piercing probes and functional sucking pumps. The crab louse has a short proboscis with recurved spiny "teeth" used to anchor the louse to the skin of its host while its mouthparts pierce the skin and fluids are sucked into the gut by pumps in the animal's pharynx (Snow 1974). Phthirus pubis feeds on blood and will starve within 24-48 hours if it is away from its human host and cannot get a meal (Wentworth 1988).





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