Atlas of livestock parasites
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Linognathus spp.



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Linognathus spp.
Sucking lice

General Description:
Wingless insect with mouth parts adapted for piercing skin and sucking blood. Head is long and narrow. The front legs are smaller than the other legs.

Life Cycle:
The entire life cycle usually occurs on the host. Lice may survive in warm environments for 25 days in the absence of host sheep. Infestations are greatest in winter months. Development takes about 6 weeks.


Linognathus ovillus and L. africanus – face;
Linognathus pedalis - legs and feet where no wool exists.

Geographical Distribution:
Species of Linognathus are found in North and South America, Europe, Africa, New Zealand, and Australia.

Heavily infested animals do not feed well. Wool growth and body weight are reduced.

Effect on Host:
Scratching, rubbing, and biting by the host can cause wool breaks and general unthriftiness. Matted, dull fleece with tufts of loose wool may indicate infestation by lice.

Diagnostic Information:
Presence of nits on wool and adult lice on skin.

Insecticides are used in various preparations and injectable ivermectin is used to kill lice on sheep.


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