Moose louse, otherwise called deer bloodsucker, elk tick, elk fly, is a small insect resembling a tick in appearance. It is familiar to everyone who visits the forests in the second half of August - early September. It is at this time that moose lice are most common.
The habitat of these insects is extensive. They are distributed throughout almost the entire European and Asian territory, in Siberia, Scandinavia, and China. They are also found in North America and North Africa. In other words, moose lice, the photo of which is presented in the article, live everywhere - except for the extreme north and south, but precisely in forest lands.
The body of the deer bloodsucker is flat, light brown, sometimes slightly darker, glossy, 3-4 mm long and up to 2 mm thick. The abdomen is able to stretch depending on the amount of blood drunk. Legs with thickened hips, powerful and tenacious, with sharp claws. The head is large, round with two large eyes located on the sides and three small ones in the center. A sharp proboscis is able to pierce even the rough skin of an animal. On the back - 5-6 mm wings.
Moose lice are parasites that feed only on the blood of their chosen host. Usually it is deer, roe deer, elk. They live in tall grass and on the leaves of shrubs and attack animals in dry calm weather. It is not uncommon for people to be attacked. Usually bloodsuckers choose a large prey in dark clothes (fewer insects sit on a child or a person in light clothes). An important role is played by the composition of the fabric - cold synthetics attract them much less than heat-transmitting natural materials.
Attacking the victim and burrowing in the hair, moose lice shed their wings, breaking them off on their own at the very base, thereby cutting off the opportunity to change the owner. Insects pierce the skin and begin to suck blood, and after they have had enough, they look for a partner for mating. Within half a month after the start of feeding (and they feed up to 20 times a day, each time sucking up to 1.5 ml of blood), the female is ready to produce offspring. All winter, until the beginning of March, the female gives birth to new insects. Moose lice are viviparous insects, eggs and larvae develop directly in the mother's body, and she lays a 3-4 mm prepupa, which then hardens and falls to the ground. During life on the body of the breadwinner, the female is able to lay up to 30 prepupa, from which a new generation will hatch by autumn. Insects that have not found a host die by winter.
Moose lice, unlike ticks, are not carriers of diseases. They do not contain tick-borne encephalitis pathogens.
People do notthey are especially afraid of these insects, often mistaking them for small flies. Although the bites of these creatures are quite painful. Most often they bite open places - the neck and lower part of the head.
Even though these insects are not dangerous, given that they can hide in clothes for a long time, after going into the forest, it is necessary to conduct a thorough examination of the body and things that were worn. The hair must be combed with a comb with densely spaced teeth.