Having fleas in house is an extremely terrible experience. These tiny creatures keep crawling around your house aiming for fresh blood. They are willing to stick onto not only your pets but also you and family and suck directly to blood vessels.
Of course, you want to get rid of fleas in your house immediately, but it is not as easy as we thought. The resilient exoskeleton makes flea very hard to eliminate. Moreover, fleas are difficult to catch since they can jump to one place to another very quickly. It looks like this ability comes from hidden wings behind their backs.
Do fleas have wings?
As you can see from the microscope picture here, flea has three pairs of legs and absolutely NO wings.
They do have exoskeletons acting as a shield to protect the body from external impacts and predators. Thanks to this, flea can survive from huge pressure, scratch and bite from dogs, cats or even human.
Fleas are famous for being one of the most outstanding jumpers, second only to the froghopper. Fleas are only 1.5 to 3 mm long, but they can jump up to 18 cm in height and 33cm in length. This means 200 times more than their size.
How can they jump that far without any wings?
The fact that fleas neither have wings nor muscles. However, they store energy in a special form called resilin. Even more surprisingly, fleas leap from feet, not knee like we often think about them. This energy is released in tibiae and tarsin, the insect equivalent of feet, creating a blast forward which allows fleas to move quickly. The scientists from Cambridge University have discovered this thanks to a high-speed camera and the mathematical model.
However, when fleas have found their victims. They rather move to other places. 90% of adult fleas will spend their whole lives living and feeding on the hosts unless they are wiped out. Beside the hindmost pair, the remaining ones play as hooks to the fur of animals allowing them to stick to the hosts.
But adult fleas only account for 5 percent of the whole population. There are other stages in flea life cycle including eggs, larvae and pupae. Thankfully, only adults fleas can jump that high, the others can’t even jump. Eggs, larvae and pupae spend their times on your house, especially pets’ favorite places and cracks on the floor.
Next time, when someone asks you that “Do fleas have wings?”. I am quite sure that you have already had a proper answer for them.