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What kind of small insect is this?

What kind of small insect is this?



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Found in central florida in the bath tub. Its about the size of a pencil marking, very small. What is it?


This small hexapod appears to be a species of Springtail (or Collembola). It is similar to the one below, with slightly different markings.

From the University of Florida:

Springtails are minute insects without wings in the Order Collembola. They occur in large numbers in moist soil and can be found in homes with high humidity, organic debris, or mold. Homeowners sometimes discover these insects occurring in large numbers in swimming pools, potted plants, or in moist soil and mulch. They feed on fungi, fungal spores, and decaying, damp vegetation, causing organic material and other nutrients to return to the soil; these nutrients are later used by plants. Occasionally, springtails attack young seedlings and may damage the roots and stems.

More information can also be found at NC State University Entomology Website: http://www.cals.ncsu.edu/course/ent425/library/compendium/collembola.html

It is hard to say what species it could be, but it looks most similar to:

Isotomurus plumosus:

or Isotomurus tricolour from Rick Cowen:

It is hard to tell but it seems to be part of this genera, or is at least in the family Isotomidae, if not the exact species.

Their taxonomy is actually under debate, and they are in a group of hexapods that are no longer considered insects.


What kind of small insect is this? - Biology

Scientific Name: Gryllus pennsylvanicus
Common Name: Field Cricket

(Information for this species page was gathered in part by Alicia Fitzgerald for the Spring 2006, Biology 220W at Penn State New Kensington)

Range
The field cricket (Gryllus pennsylvanicus) is found abundantly in a great variety of habitats (including fields and lawns, forest edges, mature forests, caves, damp basements, around plumbing, and even in outhouses) and occurs over a wide geographic range which includes most of the eastern and midwestern United States north of Florida. This wide range of habitat selection is reflective of the species&rsquo extremely broad tolerance ranges to key environmental factors. In natural habitats, G. pennsylvanicus may be found in shallow burrows and also in the matrix of dead or living vegetation above the level of the soil.

Appearance
Adult field crickets are black and brown in color and are between one half and one inch long. They have six legs, long antennae, and prominent cerci at the end of their abdomens. Their hindmost legs are very enlarged and are used by the cricket for powerful and rapid jumping. The hind wings of the field cricket are large and brightly pigmented. Not all field cricket individuals, though, are capable of flight. The non-flying G. pennsylvanicus individuals have substantially reduced flight muscle masses and may be able to more efficiently allocate energy to other biological needs (flightless female field crickets, for example, tend to be more fertile than flying females).

Sound Production
All field crickets are able to make the universally recognizable cricket, &ldquochirping&rdquo sounds. Males, though, are able to make the loudest and most noticeable sounds. The chirping is generated by the movement of &ldquoscrapers&rdquo found on the edge of the left forewing across a row of teeth-like structures located on the underside of the right forewing. The male field cricket generates a three note, highly trilled song which is answered by a more simplified, two note female song. The rate of chirping is directly influenced by temperature. Counting the number of chirps a male field cricket makes in 13 seconds, and then adding 40 to that number generates an approximate index of the environmental temperature (in degrees Fahrenheit).

Diet
Field crickets are omnivorous. They eat dried organic materials, fresh plant matter, small fruits, seeds, and, at extreme need, both living and dead insects. Plants such as crabgrass, ragweed, and chicory seem to be highly favored food sources. Large populations of G. pennsylvanicus can cause significant damage to agricultural crops, and when this species enters houses (typically in the late summer and early fall) wool, cotton, silk, nylon, rubber, and leather materials may be consumed. Population explosions in this species typical come after rainfall relieving prolonged drought conditions. The crickets feed at night and spend most of the daylight hours in warm, dark refugia. A field cricket must eat its body weight or more in food every day.

Predation, Disease and Parasites
Field crickets are preyed upon by a wide range of predators. Most bird species (including cardinals, turkeys, blackbirds, and even some hawks) will either preferentially or opportunistically eat field crickets. Red fox, box turtles, American toads, and many other mammalian, reptilian, and amphibian predators also vigorously consume field crickets. Field crickets are also subject to many diseases and parasites. There is a virus which causes body paralysis, fungal infections and protist colonizations of the intestines, ricketsia infections, mermithid worms (nematodes), and ectoparasitic mite infestations all of which beset these animals. There are also species of parasitic wasps which sting and paralyze field crickets and then lay their eggs in the still living cricket&rsquos body. The larvae of these wasps feed upon the cricket as they grow and develop.

Mating and Reproduction
The male field cricket&rsquos song is his proclamation of his readiness to mate. The males make energetic and highly conspicuous song displays, and those that sing the loudest tend to attract the most females. Those singing the loudest, though, also attract the most predators! There is, then, an extremely delicate balance between the biological success of a singing male cricket (i.e. successful reproduction) and his sudden termination by a hungry predator. This balance must have many subtle contributory factors which influence the ultimate fate of each individual. Consequences of "group singing&rdquo and the possibility of non-singing &ldquolurkers&rdquo (phenomenon observed in studies of singing frogs and toads) are interesting areas for possible study in field cricket populations.

After mating, the females lay their eggs in moist sand or soil. The cerci of females are modified into digging ovipositors. Typically, eggs are laid in groups of fifty. A female will lay up to four hundred eggs. These eggs incubate in the soil for 15 to 25 days and then hatch into nymphs. These nymphs eat very vigorously and grow rapidly undergoing eight moults as they grow into the adult forms. These nymphs and the subsequent life stages up to adult all look fundamentally alike and differ only in their relative body sizes. This type of development is called &ldquosimple metamorphosis.&rdquo The adult stage is reached in about twelve weeks, but very few individuals actually reach this level: the average life span of a field cricket is only one week.

Ecological Role
Field crickets are important agents in the decomposer communities of many ecosystems. They consume large quantities of often highly resistant, cellulose rich plant materials and produce fecal pellets that are easily decomposed by bacteria and fungi. Their activity, then, greatly accelerates the energy and nutrient flows in an ecosystem and provides plants with a much more abundant reservoir of highly available, essential growth factors. Field crickets also consume the seeds of many significant &ldquoweed&rdquo species thus reducing the potential of these rapidly growing, invasive plants to dominate both natural and human generated (i.e. lawns and gardens) ecosystems. Crabgrass in particular is a &ldquoweed&rdquo whose abundance can be reduced by the feeding activities of the field cricket. As mentioned above, though, when populations of the field cricket become excessively large, they can cause damage to agricultural crops. They can also do significant damage to clothing, furniture, rugs, and even rubber materials when they invade a house in large numbers.

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PHORID FLIES

The phorids, also known as humpbacked flies, are small to minute flies that resemble fruit flies in appearance. The Phorid fly lacks the red eye color that is the classic trademark of the fruit fly. Phorid flies are in the small category of flies, measuring up to 1/8 inch in length, including the wings. The most prominent feature of this fly is the humpbacked shape of its thorax. The severe arch of the thorax gives it the common nickname of humpbacked fly. The most easily recognized feature (seen with the naked eye) is the habit of the adult Phorid fly running rapidly across surfaces instead of immediately flying when disturbed. Most flies immediately take flight.

Phorid flies are also know as coffin flies, when found in mortuaries and mausoleums.

Click on image for enlarged view of Phorid Fly.
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Phorid Fly Elimination

The key to controlling phorid fly infestations is to locate and eliminate their breeding sources. Although there are several sprays and traps used to kill flies in a home, restaurant or other structure, the infestation cannot be eliminated without eliminating their source. A space spray (Pyrethrin aerosol) can be used as a quick kill, reducing populations of flying insects. Pyrethrin aerosol is also a crack and crevice tool that is used to spray the tiny areas where Phorid Flies breed. To monitor the area, use a Gold Stick trap. These traps use a fly sex lure to attract flies to their doom. Every Phorid fly caught is one less breeding, egg laying adult!

Fly Control in Mausoleums, Morgues

If you locate a drain that is a breeding ground for Phorid flies, use Invade Bio Drain Gel to destroy the film in which the fly eggs and larvae are developing.
Mausoleums (and on occasion, mortuaries, morgues) often have problems with odors and Phorid Flies or Mausoleum Flies, due primarily to the nature of the business.
If problems are not attacked head-on, they will persist.
Besides locating, repairing leaking seals or contaminated soil, a regular scheduled maintenance program is of utmost importance.
Foaming all cracks, crevices and drains with Invade Bio Foam and NyGuard with a Chapin Poly Foamer is best place to start. The microbes in Invade Bio Foam and
Invade Bio Drain Gel eat the organic scum and materials that the flies must have to breed and prosper. If this is ignored, the fly and gnat problems in mausoleums, morgues and mortuaries will continue.

Initial application: Using Chapin Poly Foamer, mix 4 mil. NyGuard and 4 ounces Invade Bio Foam in one gallon of water. Apply to all drains, cracks, crevices, broken seals, between floors and baseboards. Any area where fluids can leak out or accumulate any areas where mops slosh dirty water and debris against walls, furniture, etc. must be treated.
Nyguard will last 3 to 7 months, suppressing the fly population with juvenile hormone mimics. Nyguard can be sprayed in many areas, indoors and outdoors to suppress or prevent many different pests. Spray on all baseboards, carpets, cracks and crevices -- surfaces where insect pests are most likely to come in contact with the material.
Invade Bio Foam should be repeated every week to 10 days to bring problem under control. Once controlled, use the concentrated Invade Bio Foam at least twice each month. Add NyGuard IGR to foaming solution every 3 to 4 months for best results. Do not use Nyguard less than twice per year.

A surface spray is not recommended in this situation, unless there are great numbers of flies resting on the surface of trash cans, dumpsters or exterior walls. Onslaught Insecticide, Cyper WP and D-Fense SC are excellent products for this type of job.
Inspecting the area for possible breeding sources is the key for Phorid fly elimination.

Phorid Fly Biology

The phorid fly breeds primarily in and feeds on moist decaying organic matter. Because it frequents unsanitary areas (with the ability to spread disease causing bacteria onto food products) this fly is of particular concern to hospitals, health care facilities and restaurants.

The reproductive potential of these flies is tremendous and very large numbers of them may appear in a short time. Adult flies are strong fliers, having been known to travel as far as 6 miles within a 24 hour period. Phorid flies are found throughout the world and are a serious pest when found in food producing, food handling or food serving facilities. Health care facilities are another favorite target of this fly. Phorid fly larvae have been found in the open wounds of patients in nursing homes and hospitals. Fermenting materials such as fruit, dirty garbage containers, rotten vegetables or slime in drains are just a few of their favorite breeding and feeding places.

Phorid Fly Life History

Phorid flies develop by egg, larva, pupa and adult. The female will lay about 20 eggs at a time and will lay about 40 eggs in a 12 hour period. Each adult female phorid will lay approximately 500 eggs. The tiny eggs are deposited on or near the surface of decaying organic matter. Larvae emerge in 24 hours and feed for 8 to 16 days. The Phorid fly larvae then crawl to a drier spot to pupate. The life cycle from egg to adult can be completed in as little as 14 days (under ideal conditions) but may take as long as 37 days to complete their cycle.

Inspecting for Phorid Flies

Adult Phorid flies are fairly common in many habitats, but are most abundant about decaying plant and animal matter. In structures, these flies can be found breeding wherever moisture exists around plumbing and drains in bathroom and kitchen areas, garbage containers, garbage disposals, crawl space areas and basements. These breeding areas are occasionally very difficult to locate. Although it is primarily used to reduce fly populations, a Gold Stick pheromone trap can be used to monitor different areas of the home. This will help identify the areas populated with flies and help locate their possible breeding sites.

When searching for Phorid fly breeding sources, remember that the larva can only survive in decaying organic matter that is moist. The first obvious place to check is where any fruits or vegetables or stored outside of refrigerators or coolers. Other areas to inspect would be recycling bins, seldom used (or cleaned) garbage cans, underneath and behind large appliances. Do not overlook drains where small flies are often found breeding in the super thin layer or film of debris that naturally accumulates in pipes, traps and drains.

In commercial and residential structures, tiny amounts of organic debris are often found where the legs or feet of appliances, tables or cabinets touch the floor. These tiny spaces can harbor thousands of fly larvae. All small cracks and crevices at floor level need to be inspected and thoroughly cleaned.

Once one source has been located, continue with your inspection. Phorid flies easily follow air currents and usually have several breeding places in any structure. Do not assume that all of your breeding sources are indoors fruit flies will wander in from nearby dumpsters, outdoor garbage cans or even damp compost piles where fruits and vegetables are disposed.

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Contents

Cochineal is derived from the French "cochenille", derived from Spanish "cochinilla", in turn derived from Latin "coccinus" meaning "scarlet-colored", or from the Latin "coccum", meaning "berry yielding scarlet dye". See also the related word kermes, which is the source of a similar but weaker Mediterranean dye also called crimson, which was used to color cloth red before discovery of cochineal in the New World. Some sources identify the Spanish source word for cochineal as cochinilla "wood louse" (a diminutive form of Spanish cochino, cognate with French cochon, meaning "pig")." [3]

Cochineal dye was used by the Aztec and Maya peoples of North and Central America as early as the second century BC. [4] Eleven cities conquered by Montezuma in the 15th century paid a yearly tribute of 2000 decorated cotton blankets and 40 bags of cochineal dye each. [5] Production of cochineal is depicted in Codex Osuna. During the colonial period, the production of cochineal (grana fina) grew rapidly. [6] Produced almost exclusively in Oaxaca by indigenous producers, cochineal became Mexico's second-most valued export after silver. [7] Soon after the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire, it began to be exported to Spain, and by the 17th century was a commodity traded as far away as India. [8] The dyestuff was consumed throughout Europe and was so highly prized, its price was regularly quoted on the London and Amsterdam Commodity Exchanges (with the latter one beginning to record it in 1589). [6] In 1777, French botanist Nicolas-Joseph Thiéry de Menonville, presenting himself as a botanizing physician, smuggled the insects and pads of the Opuntia cactus to Saint Domingue. This particular collection failed to thrive and ultimately died out, leaving the Mexican monopoly intact. [9] After the Mexican War of Independence in 1810–1821, the Mexican monopoly on cochineal came to an end. Large-scale production of cochineal emerged, especially in Guatemala and the Canary Islands it was also cultivated in Spain and North Africa. [8]

Spain's conquest of a New World empire in the 16th century introduced new pigments and colors to peoples on both sides of the Atlantic. Carmine attained great status and value in Europe. Produced from harvested, dried, and crushed cochineal insects, carmine could be—and still is—used in fabric dye, food dye, body paint, or—in its solid lake form—almost any kind of paint or cosmetic. [ citation needed ]

The Florentine Codex contains a variety of illustrations with multiple variations of the red pigments. Specifically in the case of achiotl (light red), technical analysis of the paint reveals multiple layers of the pigment although the layers of the pigment is not visible to the naked eye. Therefore, it proves that the process of applying multiple layers is more significant in comparison to the actual color itself. Furthermore, the process of layering the various hues of the same pigment on top of each other enabled the Aztec artists to create variations in the intensity of the subject matter. A bolder application of pigment draws the viewer's eye to the subject matter which commands attention and suggests a power of the viewer. A weaker application of pigment commands less attention and has less power. This would suggest that the Aztec associated the intensity of pigments with the idea of power and life. [10]

Natives of Peru had been producing cochineal dyes for textiles since at least 700 CE, but Europeans had never seen the color before. When the Spanish invaded the Aztec empire in what is now Mexico, they were quick to exploit the color for new trade opportunities. Carmine became the region's second-most-valuable export next to silver. Pigments produced from the cochineal insect gave the Catholic cardinals their vibrant robes and the English "Redcoats" their distinctive uniforms. The true source of the pigment—an insect—was kept secret until the 18th century, when biologists discovered the source. [11]

The demand for cochineal fell sharply with the appearance on the market of alizarin crimson and many other artificial dyes discovered in Europe in the middle of the 19th century, causing a significant financial shock in Spain as a major industry almost ceased to exist. [7] The delicate manual labour required for the breeding of the insect could not compete with the modern methods of the new industry, and even less so with the lowering of production costs. The "tuna blood" dye (from the Mexican name for the Opuntia fruit) stopped being used and trade in cochineal almost totally disappeared in the course of the 20th century. In recent decades, the breeding of cochineal has been done mainly for the purposes of maintaining the tradition rather than to satisfy any sort of demand. [12] However, the product has become commercially valuable again. [13] One reason for its popularity is that many commercial synthetic red dyes and food colorings have been found to be carcinogenic. [14]

The carmine of antiquity also contains carminic acid, and was extracted from a similar insect, Kermes vermilio, which lives on Quercus coccifera oaks native to the Near East, and the European side of the Mediterranean Basin. Kermes carmine was used as a dye and a laked pigment in ancient Egypt, Greece, Armenia and the Near East and is one of the oldest organic pigments. [15] Recipes for artists' use of carmine appear in many early painting and alchemical handbooks throughout the Middle Ages the laking process for both pigments was improved in the 19th century. Carmine was not light-fast and was largely abandoned in art. [16]

Spanish influence changed the way in which Aztecs used pigments, particularly in their manuscripts. For example, cochineal was replaced by Spanish dyes like minium and alizarin crimson. [17] The image of Moctezuma's death (seen to the right) uses both indigenous and Spanish pigments, and is therefore representative of the transition and influence between cultures. [ citation needed ]

Cochineal insects are soft-bodied, flat, oval-shaped scale insects. The females, wingless and about 5 mm (0.20 in) long, cluster on cactus pads. They penetrate the cactus with their beak-like mouthparts and feed on its juices, remaining immobile unless alarmed. After mating, the fertilised female increases in size and gives birth to tiny nymphs. The nymphs secrete a waxy white substance over their bodies for protection from water loss and excessive sun. This substance makes the cochineal insect appear white or grey from the outside, though the body of the insect and its nymphs produces the red pigment, which makes the insides of the insect look dark purple. Adult males can be distinguished from females in that males have wings, and are much smaller. [18]

The cochineal disperses in the first nymph stage, called the "crawler" stage. The juveniles move to a feeding spot and produce long wax filaments. Later, they move to the edge of the cactus pad, where the wind catches the wax filaments and carries the insects to a new host. These individuals establish feeding sites on the new host and produce a new generation of cochineals. [19] Male nymphs feed on the cactus until they reach sexual maturity. At this time, they can no longer feed at all and live only long enough to fertilise the eggs. [20] They are, therefore, seldom observed. [19] In addition, females typically outnumber males due to environmental factors. [21]

Host cacti Edit

Dactylopius coccus is native to tropical and subtropical South America and North America in Mexico, where their host cacti grow natively. They have been widely introduced to many regions where their host cacti also grow. About 200 species of Opuntia cacti are known, and while it is possible to cultivate cochineal on almost all of them, the most common is Opuntia ficus-indica. [22] D. coccus has only been noted on Opuntia species, including O. amyclaea, O. atropes, O. cantabrigiensis, O. brasilienis, O. ficus-indica, O. fuliginosa, O. jaliscana, O. leucotricha, O. lindheimeri, O. microdasys, O. megacantha, O. pilifera, O. robusta, O. sarca, O. schikendantzii, O. stricta, O. streptacantha, and O. tomentosa. [1] Feeding cochineals can damage and kill the plant. Other cochineal species feed on many of the same Opuntia, and the wide range of hosts reported for D. coccus likely is because of the difficulty in distinguishing it from other Dactylopius species. [23]

A nopal cactus farm for the production of cochineal is traditionally known as a nopalry. [24] The two methods of farming cochineal are traditional and controlled. Cochineals are farmed in the traditional method by planting infected cactus pads or infesting existing cacti with cochineals and harvesting the insects by hand. The controlled method uses small baskets called Zapotec nests placed on host cacti. The baskets contain clean, fertile females that leave the nests and settle on the cactus to await fertilization by the males. In both cases, the cochineals must be protected from predation, cold, and rain. The complete cycle lasts three months, during which time the cacti are kept at a constant temperature of 27 °C (81 °F). At the end of the cycle, the new cochineals are left to reproduce or are collected and dried for dye production. [22]

To produce dye from cochineals, the insects are collected when they are around 90 days old. Harvesting the insects is labour-intensive, as they must be individually knocked, brushed, or picked from the cacti and placed into bags. The insects are gathered by small groups of collectors who sell them to local processors or exporters. [25]

Several natural enemies can reduce the population of the insects on hosts. Of all the predators, insects seem to be the most important group. Insects and their larvae such as pyralid moths (order Lepidoptera), which destroy the cactus, and predators such as lady bugs (Coleoptera), various Diptera (such as Syrphidae and Chamaemyiidae), lacewings (Neuroptera), and ants (Hymenoptera) have been identified, as well as numerous parasitic wasps. Many birds, human-commensal rodents (especially rats) and reptiles also prey on cochineal insects. In regions dependent on cochineal production, pest control measures are taken seriously. For small-scale cultivation, manual methods of control have proved to be the safest and most effective. For large-scale cultivation, advanced pest control methods have to be developed, including alternative bioinsecticides or traps with pheromones. [1]

Farming in Australia Edit

Opuntia species, known commonly as prickly pears, were first brought to Australia in an attempt to start a cochineal dye industry in 1788. Captain Arthur Phillip collected a number of cochineal-infested plants from Brazil on his way to establish the first European settlement at Botany Bay, part of which is now Sydney, New South Wales. At that time, Spain and Portugal had a worldwide cochineal dye monopoly via their New World colonial sources, and the British desired a source under their own control, as the dye was important to their clothing and garment industries it was used to color the British soldiers' red coats, for example. [26] The attempt was a failure in two ways: the Brazilian cochineal insects soon died off, but the cactus thrived, eventually overrunning about 100,000 sq mi (259,000 km 2 ) of eastern Australia. [27] The cacti were eventually brought under control in the 1920s by the deliberate introduction of a South American moth, Cactoblastis cactorum, the larvae of which feed on the cactus. [27]

Farming in Ethiopia Edit

The nopal pear has been traditionally eaten in parts of northern Ethiopia, where it is utilized more than cultivated. Carmine cochineal was introduced into northern Ethiopia early in the 2000s to be cultivated among farming communities. Foodsafe exported 2000 tons of dried carmine cochineal over 3 years. [ citation needed ]

A conflict of interest among communities led to closure of the cochineal business in Ethiopia, but the insect spread and became a pest. Cochineal infestation continued to expand after the cochineal business had ended. Control measures were unsuccessful and by 2014 about 16,000 hectares (62 sq mi) of cactus land had become infested with cochineal. [28]

Carminic acid is extracted from the female cochineal insects and is treated to produce carmine, which can yield shades of red such as crimson and scarlet. The body of the insect is 19–22% carminic acid. [13] The insects are processed by immersion in hot water or exposure to sunlight, steam, or the heat of an oven. Each method produces a different color that results in the varied appearance of commercial cochineal. The insects must be dried to about 30% of their original body weight before they can be stored without decaying. [25] It takes about 80,000 to 100,000 insects to make one kilogram of cochineal dye. [29]

The two principal forms of cochineal dye are cochineal extract, a coloring made from the raw dried and pulverised bodies of insects, and carmine, a more purified coloring made from the cochineal. To prepare carmine, the powdered insect bodies are boiled in ammonia or a sodium carbonate solution, the insoluble matter is removed by filtering, and alum is added to the clear salt solution of carminic acid to precipitate the red aluminium salt. Purity of color is ensured by the absence of iron. Stannous chloride, citric acid, borax, or gelatin may be added to regulate the formation of the precipitate. For shades of purple, lime is added to the alum. [5]

As of 2005, [ needs update ] Peru produced 200 tons of cochineal dye per year and the Canary Islands produced 20 tons per year. [13] [25] Chile and Mexico also export cochineal. [1] In Mexico, production and exportation of the dye has been found to lower poverty and improve female literacy. [30] France is believed to be the world's largest importer, and Japan and Italy also import the insect. Much of these imports are processed and re-exported to other developed economies. [25] As of 2005, [ needs update ] the market price of cochineal was between US$50 and 80 per kilogram, [ needs update ] [22] while synthetic raw food dyes are available at prices as low as $10–20 per kilogram. [31]

Uses Edit

Traditionally, cochineal was used for coloring fabrics. During the colonial period, with the introduction of sheep to Latin America, the use of cochineal increased, as it provided the most intense color and it set more firmly on woolen garments than on clothes made of materials of pre-Hispanic origin such as cotton or agave and yucca fibers. In general, cochineal is more successful on protein-based animal fibres (including silk) than plant-based material. Once the European market discovered the qualities of this product, the demand for it increased dramatically. By the beginning of the 17th century, it was traded internationally. [8] Carmine became strong competition for other colorants such as madder root, kermes, Polish cochineal, Armenian cochineal, brazilwood, and Tyrian purple, [32] as they were used for dyeing the clothes of kings, nobles, and the clergy. For the past several centuries, it was the most important insect dye used in the production of hand-woven oriental rugs, almost completely displacing lac. [8] It was also used for painting, handicrafts, and tapestries. [12] Cochineal-colored wool and cotton are important materials for Mexican folk art and crafts. [33] [34]

Cochineal is used as a fabric and cosmetics dye and as a natural food coloring. It is also used in histology as a preparatory stain for the examination of tissues and carbohydrates. [35] In artists' paints, it has been replaced by synthetic reds and is largely unavailable for purchase due to poor lightfastness. Natural carmine dye used in food and cosmetics can render the product unacceptable to vegetarian or vegan consumers. Many Muslims consider carmine-containing food forbidden (haraam) because the dye is extracted from insects and all insects except the locust are haraam in Islam. [36] Jews also avoid food containing this additive, though it is not treif, and some authorities allow its use because the insect is dried and reduced to powder. [37]

Cochineal is one of the few water-soluble colorants to resist degradation with time. It is one of the most light- and heat-stable and oxidation-resistant of all the natural organic colorants and is even more stable than many synthetic food colors. [38] The water-soluble form is used in alcoholic drinks with calcium carmine the insoluble form is used in a wide variety of products. Together with ammonium carmine, they can be found in meat, sausages, processed poultry products (meat products cannot be colored in the United States unless they are labeled as such), surimi, marinades, alcoholic drinks, bakery products and toppings, cookies, desserts, icings, pie fillings, jams, preserves, gelatin desserts, juice beverages, varieties of cheddar cheese and other dairy products, sauces, and sweets. [38]

Carmine is considered safe enough for cosmetic use in the eye area. [39] A significant proportion of the insoluble carmine pigment produced is used in the cosmetics industry for hair- and skin-care products, lipsticks, face powders, rouges, and blushes. [38] A bright red dye and the stain carmine used in microbiology is often made from the carmine extract, too. [20] The pharmaceutical industry uses cochineal to color pills and ointments. [25]

Risks and labeling Edit

In spite of the widespread use of carmine-based dyes in food and cosmetic products, a small number of people have been found to experience occupational asthma, food allergy and cosmetic allergies (such as allergic rhinitis and cheilitis), IgE-mediated respiratory hypersensitivity, and in rare cases anaphylactic shock. [40] [41] [42] In 2009 the FDA ruled that labels of cosmetics and food that include cochineal extract must include that information on their labels (under the name "cochineal extract" or "carmine"). [43] [44] In 2006 the FDA stated it found no evidence of a "significant hazard" to the general population. [45] In the EU authorities list carmine as additive E 120 in the list of EU-approved food additives. [46] An artificial, non-allergenic cochineal dye is labeled E 124. [40] The directive governing food dyes approves the use of carmine for certain groups of foods only, but is still found in several products particularly alcoholic beverages. [ citation needed ]


6 Major Types of Inflorescence (With Diagrams) | Botany

The following points highlight the six major types of inflorescence. After reading this article you will learn about: 1. Racemose Inflorescence 2. Cymose Inflorescence 3. Compound 4. Cyathium 5. Verticillaster 6. Hypanthodium.

Inflorescence: Type # 1. Racemose Inflorescence:

In this type of inflorescence the main axis does not end in a flower, but it grows continuously and develops flowers on its lateral sides in acropetal succession (i.e., the lower or outer flowers are older than the upper or inner ones). The various forms of racemose inflorescence may be described under three heads.

(i) With the main axis elongated, i.e., (a) raceme (b) spike (c) spikelets (d) catkin and (e) spadix.

(ii) With the main axis shortened, i.e., (i) corymb and (ii) umbel.

(iii) With the main axis flattened, i.e., capitulum or head.

(i) Main Axis Elongated:

In such cases the main axis remains elongated and it bears laterally a number of stalked flowers. The lower or older flowers possess longer stalks than the upper or younger ones, e.g., radish (Raphanus sativus), mustard (Brassica campestris), etc.

When the main axis of raceme is branched and the lateral branches bear the flowers, the inflorescence is known as compound raceme or panicle, e.g., neem (Azadirachta indica), gul-mohar (Delonix regia), etc.

The main axis of the inflorescence together with the latest axes, if present, is termed as the peduncle. The stalk of the individual flower of the inflorescence is called the pedicel.

In this type of racemose inflorescence the main axis remains elongated and the lower flowers are older, i.e., opening earlier than the upper ones, as found in raceme, but here the flowers are sessile, i.e., without pedicel or stalk, e.g., amaranth (Amaranthus spp.), latjira (Achyranthes aspera), etc.

Each spikelet may bear one to several flowers (florets) attached to a central stalk known as rachilla. Spikeletes are arranged in a spike inflorescence which is composed of several to many spikelets which are combined in various manners on a main axis called the rachis. Some are in compound spikes (i.e., in wheat—Triticum aestivum), others are in racemes (e.g., in Festuca), while some are in panicles (e.g., in Avena).

The usual structure of spikelet is as— There is a pair of sterile glumes at the base of spikelet, the lower, outer glume called the first, and the upper, inner one called the second. Just above the glumes, there is series of florets, partly enclosed by them.

Each floret has at its base a lemma and palea. The lemma is the lower, outer bract of the floret. Usually the lemma also known as inferior palea bears a long awn as an extension of the mid-rib at the apex or back.

The floral parts borne in the axil of lemma. The palea (also known as superior palea) often with two longitudinal ridges (keels or nerves), stands between the lemma and the rachilla. Flowers and glumes are arranged on the spikelet in two opposite rows. Spikeletes are characteristic of Poaceae (Gramineae) or Grass family, e.g., grasses, wheat, barley, oats, sorghum, sugarcane, bamboo, etc.

This is a modified spike with a long and drooping axis bearing unisexual flowers, e.g., mulberry (Moras alba), birch (Betula spp.), oak (Quercus spp.), etc.

This is also a modification of spike inflorescence having a fleshy axis, which remains enclosed by one or more large, often brightly coloured bracts, the spathes, e.g., in members of Araceae, Musaceae and Palmaceae. This inflorescence is found only in monocotyledonous plants.

(ii) Main Axis Shortened:

In this inflorescence the main axis remains comparatively short and the lower flowers possess much longer stalks or pedicels than the upper ones so that all the flowers are brought more or less to the same level, e.g., in candytuft (Iberis amara).

In this inflorescence the primary axis remains comparatively short, and it bears at its tip a group of flowers which possess pedicels or stalks of more or less equal lengths so that the flowers are seen to spread out from a common point. In this inflorescence a whorl of bracts forming an involucre is always present, and each individual flower develops from the axil of a bract.

Generally the umbel is branched and is known as umbel of umbels (compound umbel), and the branches bear flowers, e.g., in coriander (Coriandrum sativum), fennel, carrot, etc. Sometimes, the umbel is un-branched and known as simple umbel, e.g., Brahmi (Centella asiatica). This inflorescence (umbel) is characteristic of Apiaceae (Umbelliferae) family.

(iii) Main Axis Flattened:

In this type of inflorescence the main axis or receptacle becomes suppressed, and almost flat, and the flowers (also known as florets) are sessile (without stalk) so that they become crowded together on the flat surface of the receptacle. The florets are arranged in a centripetal manner on the receptacle, i.e., the outer flowers are older and open earlier than the inner ones.

The individual flowers (florets) are bracteate. In addition the whole inflorescence remains surrounded by a series of bracts arranged in two or three whorls.

The flowers (florets) are usually of two kinds:

(i) Ray florets (marginal strap-shaped flowers) and

(ii) Disc florets (central tubular flowers).

The capitulum (head) may also consist of only one kind of florets, e.g., only tubular florets in Ageratum or only ray or strap-shaped florets in Sonchus. A capitulum or head is characteristic of Asteraceae (Compositae) family, e.g., sunflower (Helianthus annuus), marigold (Tagetes indica), safflower (Carthamus tinctorius). Zinnia, Cosmos, Tridax, Vernonia, etc. Besides, it is also found in Acacia and sensitive plant (Mimosa pudica) of Mimosaceae family.

The capitulum inflorescence has been considered to be the most perfect. The reasons are as follows:

The individual flowers are quite small and massed together in heads, and therefore, they add to greater conspicuousness to attract the insects and flies for pollination.

At the same time there is a considerable saving of material in the construction of the corolla and other floral parts.

A single insect may pollinate flowers in a short time without flying from one flower to another.

Inflorescence: Type # 2. Cymose Inflorescence:

In this type of inflorescence the growth of the main axis is ceased by the development of a flower at its apex, and the lateral axis which develops the terminal flower also culminates in a flower and its growth is also ceased. The flowers may be pedicellate (stalked) or sessile (without stalk).

Here the flowers develop in basipetal succession, i.e., the terminal flower is the oldest and the lateral ones younger. This type of opening of flowers is known as centrifugal.

The cymose inflorescence may be of four main types:

(i) Uniparous or monochasial cyme

(ii) Biparous or dichasial cyme

(iii) Multiparous or polychasial cyme and

(i) Uniparous or Monochasial Cyme:

Here the main axis ends in a flower and it produces only one lateral branch at a time ending in a flower. The lateral and succeeding branches again produce only one branch at a time like the primary one.

There are three forms of uniparous cyme:

(a) Helicoid Cyme:

When the lateral axes develop successively on the same side, forming a sort of helix, the cymose inflorescence is known as helicoid or one-sided cyme, e.g., in Begonia, Juncus, Hemerocallis and some members of Solanaceae.

(b) Scorpioid Cyme:

When the lateral branches develop on alternate sides, forming a zigzag, the cymose inflorescence is known as scorpioid or alternate-sided cyme, e.g., in Gossypium (cotton), Drosera (sundew), Heliotropium, Freesia, etc.

(c) Symopodial Cyme:

Sometimes, in monocha­sial or uniparous cyme successive axes may be at first curved or zig-zag (as in scorpioid cyme) but later on it becomes straight due to rapid growth, thus forming a central or pseudoaxis. This type of inflorescence is known as sympodial cyme as found in some members of Solanaceae (e.g., Solanum nigrum).

(ii) Biparous or Dichasial Cyme:

In this type of inflorescence the peduncle bears a terminal flower and stops growing. At the same time the peduncle produces two lateral younger flowers or two lateral branches each of which terminates in a flower.

There are three flowers the oldest one is in the centre. The lateral and succeeding branches in their turn behave in the same manner, e.g., jasmine, teak, Ixora, Saponaria, etc. This is also known as true cyme or compound dichasium.

(iii) Multiparous or Polychasial Cyme:

In this type of cymose inflorescence the main axis culminates in a flower, and at the same time it again produces a number of lateral flowers around. The oldest flower is in the centre and ends the main floral axis (peduncle). This is a simple polychasium.

The whole inflorescence looks like an umbel, but is readily distinguished from the latter by the opening of the middle flower first, e.g., Ak (Calotropis procera), Hamelia patens, etc.

(iv) Cymose Capitulum:

This type of inflorescence is found in Acacia, Mimosa and Albizzia. In such cases the peduncle is reduced or condensed to a circular disc. It bears sessile or sub-sessile flowers on it. The oldest flowers develop in the centre and youngest towards the periphery of the disc, such arrangement is known as centrifugal. The flowers make a globose head, which is also called glomerule.

Inflorescence: Type # 3. Compound Inflorescence:

In this type of inflorescence the main axis (peduncle) branches repeatedly once or twice in racemose or cymose manner. In the former case it becomes a compound raceme and in the latter case it becomes a compound cymose inflorescence.

The main types of compound inflorescence are as follows:

1. Compound Raceme or Panicle:

In this case the raceme is branched, and the branches bear flowers in a racemose manner, e.g., Delonix regia, Azadirachta indica, Clematis buchaniana, Cassia fistula, etc.

Also known as umbel of umbels. Here the peduncle (main axis) is short and bears many branches which arise in an umbellate cluster. Each such branch bears a group of flowers in an umbellate manner. Usually a whorl of leafy bracts is found at the base of branches and also at the bases of flowers arranged in umbellate way.

The former whorl of bracts is called involucre and the latter involucel. Typical examples of compound umbel are—Daucus carota (carrot), Foeniculum vulgare (fennel), Coriandrum sativum (coriander), etc.

Also known as corymb of corymbs. Here the main axis (peduncle) branches in a corymbose manner and each branch bears flowers arranged in corymbs. Typical example-cauliflower.

Also known as spike of spikelets. The typical examples are found in Poaceae (Gramineae) family such as-wheat, barley, sorghum, oats, etc. This type has already been described under sub-head spikelets.

Also known as spadix of spadices. Here the main axis (peduncle) remains branched in a racemose manner and each branch bears sessile and unisexual flowers. The whole branched structure remains covered by a single spathe. The examples are common in Palmaceae (Palmae) family.

Also known as head of heads or capitulum of capitula. In this case many small heads form a large head. The typical example is globe thistle (Echinops). In this plant the heads are small and one-flowered and are arranged together forming a big compound head.

Inflorescence: Type # 4 . Cyathium:

This type of inflorescence is found in genus Euphorbia of family Euphorbiaceae also found in genus Pedilanthus of the family. In this inflorescence there is a cup-shaped involucre, often provided with nectar secreting glands. The involucre encloses a single female flower, represented by a pistil, in the centre, situated on a long stalk.

This female flower remains surrounded by a number of male flowers arranged centrifugally. Each male flower is reduced to a solitary stalked stamen. It is evident that each stamen is a single male flower from the facts that it is articulated to a stalk and that it possesses a scaly bract at the base. The examples can be seen in poinsettia (Euphorbia), Pedilanthus, etc.

Inflorescence: Type # 5 . Verticillaster:

This type of inflorescence is a condensed form of dichasial (biparous) cyme with a cluster of sessile or sub-sessile flowers in the axil of a leaf, forming a false whorl of flowers at the node. The first of main floral axis gives rise to two lateral branches and these branches and the succeeding branches bear only one branch each on alternate sides.

The type of inflorescence is characteristic of Lamiaceae (Labiatae) family. Typical examples, are—Ocimum, Coleus, Mentha, Leucas, etc.


Mouth Parts in Insects (With Diagram)

This type of mouth parts are supposed to be the most primitive type as the other types are believed to be evolved from biting and chewing type of mouth parts.

These consist of the labrum forming upper lip, mandibles, first maxillae, second maxillae forming lower lip, hypo pharynx and the epipharynx.

The labrum is median, somewhat rectangular flap-like. The mandibles are paired and bear toothed edges at their inner surfaces they work transversely by two sets of muscles to masticate the food. The first maxillae are paired and lie one on either side of the head capsule behind the mandibles. Each possesses a five-jointed maxillary palp which is a tactile organ.

The first maxillae help in holding the food. The second maxillae are paired but fused to form the lower lip. Its function is to push the masticated food into the mouth. The hypo pharynx is single median tongue-like process at whose base the common salivary duct opens. The epipharynx is a single small membranous piece lying under the labrum and bears taste buds.

This type of mouth parts are found in orthopteran insects like cockroaches, grasshoppers, crickets, etc. These are also found in silver fish, termites, earwigs, beetles, some hymenopterans and in caterpillars of Lepidoptera.

2. Chewing and Lapping:

This type of mouth parts are modified for collecting the nectar and pollen from flowers and also for moulding the wax, as is found in honeybees, wasps, etc. They consist of the labrum, epipharynx, mandibles, first pair of maxillae and second pair of maxillae.

The labrum lies below the clypeus, below the labrum is a fleshy epipharynx which is an organ of taste.

Mandibles are short, smooth and spatulated, situated one on either side of the labrum used in moulding wax and making the honeycomb. The labium (second pair of maxillae) has reduced paraglossae, the glossae are united and elongated to form the so called retractile tongue, at its tip is a small labellum or honey spoon. The labial palps are elongated.

The glossa is used for gathering honey and it is an organ of touch and taste. The first pair of maxillae are placed at the sides of labium, they bear small maxillary palps, lacinia is very much reduced but galea are elongated and blade-like.

The galea and labial palps form a tube enclosing the glossae which moves up and down to collect nectar from flower nectaries. The nectar is sucked up through the tube, so formed, by the pumping action of the pharynx. The labrum and mandibles help in chewing the food.

3. Piercing and Sucking:

This type of mouth parts are adapted for piercing the tissues of animals and plants to suck blood and plant juice, and found in dipteran insects like mosquitoes and hemipteran insects like bugs, aphids, etc.

They usually consist of labium, labrum and epipharynx, mandibles, maxillae (1st pair) and hypo pharynx.

However, for the sake of easy description, this type of mouth parts can be discussed in the following two headings:

(i) Piercing and sucking mouth parts of mosquitoes:

The labium is modified to form a long, straight, fleshy tube, called proboscis. It has a deep labial groove on its upper side. The labial palps are modified to form two conical lobes at the tip of the proboscis, called labella which bear tactile bristles. The labrum is long needle-like. The epipharynx is fused with the labrum. The labrum-epipharynx, thus, covers the labial groove dorsally from inside.

These structures appear C- shaped in transverse section having a groove, called food channel. Mandibles, maxillae and hypo pharynx are modified to form needle-like stylets which are placed in the labial groove. In male mosquitoes, the mandibles are absent. The mandibles are finer than the maxillae, but both have saw-like edges on their tips. The hypo pharynx possesses salivary duct which opens at its tip.

(ii) Piercing and sucking mouth parts of bugs:

In bedbug, the labium constitutes a three- jointed proboscis. The mandibles and maxillae are modified to form stylets the mandibular stylets possess blade-like tips, while maxillary stylets possess saw-like tips. The labrum is flap like and covers the labial groove at the base only.

Of the four stylets, mandibles are placed externally in the labial groove, while both the maxillae are placed internally in the labial groove. The maxillae are grooved and placed in such a way that they form an upper food channel and lower salivary canal. The epipharynx and hypo pharynx are absent.

4. Sponging:

This type of mouth parts are adapted for sucking up liquid or semiliquid food and found in houseflies and some other flies. They consist of labrum- epipharynx, maxillae, labium and hypo pharynx mandibles are entirely absent.

In fact, in this type of mouth parts, the labium, i.e., lower lip is well developed and modified to form a long, fleshy and retractile proboscis.

The proboscis is divisible into three distinct parts:

(i) Rostrum or basiproboscis it is broad, elongated and cone-shaped basal part of proboscis articulated proximally with the head and bears a pair of un-jointed maxillary palps representing the maxillae,

(ii) Haustellum or mediproboscis it is the middle part of proboscis bearing a mid-dorsal oral groove and a ventral weakly chitinised plate-like theca or mentum.

A double- edged blade-like hypo pharynx is located deep inside the oral groove it bears salivary duct and closes the groove of labrum-epipharynx from below. The labrum-epipharynx is a long, somewhat flattened and grooved structure covering the oral groove. The food canal or channel is, thus, formed by labium-epipharynx and the hypo pharynx.

(iii) Labella or distiproboscis it is the distal part of proboscis and consists of two broad, flattened and oval spongy pads having a series of channels called pseudo tracheae. These open externally by a double row of tiny holes through which liquid food is taken in. The pseudo tracheae converge into the mouth lying between the two lobes of labella which lead into the food canal.

5. Siphoning:

This type of mouth parts are adapted wonderfully for sucking flower nectar and fruit juice, found in butterflies and moths belonging to the order Lepidoptera of class Insecta. They consist of small labrum, coiled proboscis, reduced mandibles and labium. The hypo pharynx and epipharynx are not found.

The labrum is a triangular sclerite attached with the front clypeus of the head. The proboscis is formed by well-developed, greatly elongated and modified galeae of maxillae. It is grooved internally to form the food channel or canal through which food is drawn up to mouth. At rest, when proboscis is not in use, it is tightly coiled beneath the head but it becomes extended in response to food stimulus.

The extension of proboscis is achieved by .exerting a fluid pressure by the blood. Mandibles are either absent or greatly reduced, situated on the lateral sides of the labrum. The labium is triangular plate-like bearing labial palps.


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thank you for your information. i already have an answer in my assignment. this site is very helpful. keep on doing good things like this. Georgesplane 16 hours ago

@ Alchemy- If you were to name the classification of the seven major phyla of humans you would call us: Animalia [kingdom] Chordata [phylum] Mammalia [class] Primata [order] Hominidae [family] Homo [genus] Homo Sapiens [species].

A chimpanzee, for example, would have the same phylum, but different genus and species, from a human. An armadillo on the other hand would share the same kingdom, phylum and class, but would differ from the order down. GenevaMech 16 hours ago

@ Alchemy- The seven major divisions of taxa are based on a systems invented by a Swedish biologist in the 18th century. They are as follows (but note that these are the main classifications and there are many other sub classifications within each classification): Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, and Species.

Biologists can use these classifications to show the relationship between different organisms. The more taxa two organisms have in common, the more closely they are related. Alchemy 16 hours ago

I always learn something new on this website. I would have thought that the class would have fallen just below kingdom, followed closely by phylums. Naming whether something is a plant, animal, or amphibian seems like it would have been the most logical way to classify something below the title of kingdom, but that just goes to show I am no biologist. What are the other different levels of classification in taxonomy? Now I'm curious to know how humans are specifically classified.


The Insect Heart

Insect Heart (Source: University of Sydney)

Hemolymph is forced to circulate by specialized organs known as the dorsal vessel. Interestingly, this seemingly tubular structure is considered as the insect’s heart. Branching from the “heart” are the blood vessels that deliver the fluid to various locations in the insect’s body.

The dorsal vessel is suspended in the hemocoel by muscular ligaments. Each chamber of the dorsal vessel comprises of the alary muscles that either contract or expand to control the flow of hemolymph. Meanwhile, the anterior portion of the dorsal vessel with no such muscles attached is called the aorta.

  • Hydrostatic pressure created by muscle contractions helps push the hemolymph from one location to the next, helping it move to the head and the thorax.
  • Based on the diagrammatic illustration, one blood vessel can be found running the dorsal side of the insect’s body (head to abdomen). The insect heart wall has various perforations (known as ostia) that functions as the passageways of hemolymph to enter from the hemocoel.


Fruit

As the seed develops, the walls of the ovary thicken and form the fruit. The seed forms in an ovary, which also enlarges as the seeds grow. Many foods commonly called vegetables are actually fruits. Eggplants, zucchini, string beans, tomatoes, and bell peppers are all technically fruits because they contain seeds and are derived from the thick ovary tissue. Acorns are true nuts, and winged maple “helicopter seeds” or whirligigs (whose botanical name is samara) are also fruits. Botanists classify fruit into more than two dozen different categories, only a few of which are actually fleshy and sweet.

Mature fruit can be fleshy or dry. Fleshy fruit include the familiar berries, peaches, apples, grapes, and tomatoes. Rice, wheat, and nuts are examples of dry fruit. Another subtle distinction is that not all fruits are derived from just the ovary. For instance, strawberries are derived from the ovary as well as the receptacle, and apples are formed from the ovary and the pericarp, or hypanthium. Some fruits are derived from separate ovaries in a single flower, such as the raspberry. Other fruits, such as the pineapple, form from clusters of flowers. Additionally, some fruits, like watermelon and orange, have rinds. Regardless of how they are formed, fruits are an agent of seed dispersal. The variety of shapes and characteristics reflect the mode of dispersal. Wind carries the light dry fruits of trees and dandelions. Water transports floating coconuts. Some fruits attract herbivores with their color or scent, or as food. Once eaten, tough, undigested seeds are dispersed through the herbivore’s feces (endozoochory). Other fruits have burrs and hooks to cling to fur and hitch rides on animals (epizoochory).


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NC State University Entomology extension faculty and staff work with county field faculty, growers, consultants, and the public across the state in solving insect problems through research based and environmentally sound practices.


Types of Parasites

Parasites are organisms that depend on other biological hosts for deriving nutrition, shelter, and other benefits, while harming the host. There are many types of parasites that infest humans as well as animals.

Parasites are organisms that depend on other biological hosts for deriving nutrition, shelter, and other benefits, while harming the host. There are many types of parasites that infest humans as well as animals.

Parasites are organisms that infect and enter a host organism, in order to derive nutrition and other benefits. These organisms often end up causing harm to the host. They not only infest humans but can also be a cause of concern for animals. A parasitic attack, in humans as well as animals, can cause a number of health problems such as diarrhea, fatigue, skin rash, nervousness, asthma, anemia, tissue damage, etc, in the host. Some classic examples of parasites in humans and animals include tapeworms, flukes, the Plasmodium sp., and fleas. There are a range of parasites that are classified based on the interaction with the host and their individual life cycle.

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Different Types of Parasites:

There are many parasites that infect people and cause a number of disorders and diseases. They can invade your body through water and/or food sources, by inhalation, by direct contact with them, or via carriers like mosquitoes. As the parasites multiply, the infection gradually spreads, and can even turn into an epidemic.

Protozoa: They are single celled parasites that were first discovered by Antony van Leeuwenhoek, a Dutch scientist (also known as the “father of microbiology”). There are approximately 45,000 species of Protozoa that exhibit approximately the same physiological functions as other more complex organisms. They can infest the blood, nervous system, and digestive tracts of most humans. This single celled organism has two essential parts, the nucleus and the cytoplasm. Covered with a non rigid membrane, the protozoa has its own specific form of locomotion like cilia or flagella. Some of the common types include:

  • Giardia lamblia
  • Entamoeba histolytica
  • Cryptosporidium
  • Toxoplasma gondii

People infected with protozoan parasites may experience symptoms such as abdominal pain, fatigue, flush symptoms, weight loss, weakness, and diarrhea.

Helminths: Worm-like parasites are classified as helminths. While roundworms, tapeworms, flukes, and hookworms, in humans, are endoparasites, that is, they live inside the host’s body leeches are ectoparasites that attach themselves to the outer parts of the host. One of the famous nematodes or roundworm is Trichinella spiralis, which lives in the muscle tissues of animals like pigs, and often gets transferred to the human intestinal system, when they happen to ingest infected, undercooked pork. Some of the most common types of helminths include:

Arthropods: Classified as crustaceans, insects, and arachnids, arthropods are organisms with tough exoskeletons and segmented bodies. While being parasites themselves, the diverse species of arthropods are also carriers of bacterial and viral diseases along with the protozoa and helminth parasites. For example mosquitoes which are classified as arthropods spread a number of diseases like malaria, yellow fever, heartworm, elephantiasis, and filariasis. They are, mostly, either carriers of parasites or act as ectoparasites.

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Parasites are a common health problem afflicting our canine friends. External as well as intestinal parasites are quite common in dogs since they have a penchant for curiously exploring their surroundings and ingesting anything that seems edible. Some of the most common parasites found in canines are as follows.

  • Roundworms
  • Whipworms
  • Heartworms
  • Tapeworms
  • Hookworms
  • Giardia
  • Fleas
  • Ticks
  • Mites
  • Lice

The symptoms of a parasitic infection will vary depending on the type of parasite, your pet’s age, nutritional status, parasite load, duration of infestation, etc. A dog infected with internal parasites will display symptoms like diarrhea, poor appetite, lethargy, coughing, and abdominal distention.

Like dogs, cats too are prone to suffering from a number of infections and diseases caused by a range of parasites. While some may cause life-threatening health problems, others can be treated with medications and other treatment procedures. They common parasites that infect cats include:

  • Ear Mites
  • Fleas
  • Giardia
  • Lice
  • Ticks
  • Intestinal worms (hookworms, roundworms, whip worms and tapeworms)

Infections and diseases caused by these parasites can be treated by a number of medical procedures and medications. However, the best way to avoid parasites and control the infection is by undertaking preventive measures. Sanitary conditions of water and food sources, proper cooking techniques, education about personal hygiene, and control of intermediate and vector host organisms such as your pet dogs and cats, can help you in eliminating the dangers posed by the different parasites.

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