Sunday, December 23, 2012

Answer to Case 238

Answer:  Pediculus humanus

As pointed out by Hans, P. humanus has 2 ecotypes, which are referred to as head lice and body lice.  Although they are very similar and have overlapping body features, they differ by only a single gene and can successfully interbreed to produce fertile off-spring.  Here is an interesting review on human head and body lice which covers the taxonomy in greater detail:

Veracx and Raoult. Biology and genetics of human head and body lice. Trends in Parasitology, December 2012, Vol. 28, No. 12.

Enjoy, and Happy 2013!

No comments: