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The Anatomy Of Lice

The Anatomy Of Lice
Updated on 
July 10, 2019

The Anatomy Of Lice

Upon the initial discovery of a head lice infestation, many wonder what the louse anatomy, or head lice anatomy, consists of. No worries. LiceDoctors has the answers. Like most insects, they have 3 distinguishing parts – the head, thorax, and abdomen. 

what do lice look like bugs eggs nits identify

The Head: On the head, they have two eyes, two antenna and their mouth. They have a specialized tube shaped mouth with teeth on the end that comes out of their mouth. This piece is specialized to bite into and cling to the scalp of the infested person. They have three particularly shaped mouth parts used to cut into skin to get their blood meal. The teeth are barbs that enter the scalp which helps the louse attach to the scalp of the host.

The Thorax: This is the middle section of the louse body where you find the six legs, three on each side, attached with each leg ending in a claw. The claws are adapted so lice can more easily attach to any hair type. The legs have receptors that pick up the slightest movement allowing them to move quickly away from perceived danger.

The Abdomen: This is the final part of the lice body where the intestines and other internal organs are housed. The more blood in the intestines the darker the louse will appear. A fresh meal will give the intestines a deeper (blood red) appearance. The older the meal the more brown the abdomen will appear.

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