Polar Biology

, Volume 8, Issue 6, pp 403–410 | Cite as

Aspects of the biology of Glaciopsyllus antarcticus (Siphonaptera: Ceratophyllidae) during the breeding season of a host (Fulmarus glacialoides)

  • P. J. Bell
  • H. R. Burton
  • J. A. van Franeker


The breeding period of the Antarctic flea, Glaciopsyllus antarcticus (Smit and Dunnet), was synchronised with the breeding period of the host, Southern Fulmar (Fulmarus glacialoides Smith). Although eggs were laid in the host nest, larvae developed amongst the down (particularly on the belly) of host chicks. Larvae were blood feeders and pupated amongst the down of host chicks. The development of pupae was arrested by ambient temperatures (mean temperature of +2.5°C in January), but recommenced when pupae were warmed. Female fleas comprised 55.8% of a collection of 1988 adults. Low numbers of adult fleas were found in nests prior to host breeding and subsequent to host fledging in comparison to numbers on the host; adults are therefore presumed to overwinter on the host, remote from the nest.


Ambient Temperature Breeding Season Smit Breeding Period Host Nest 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Askew RR (1971) Parasitic insects. Hienemann, LondonGoogle Scholar
  2. Bonner WN, Smith RI (1985) Conservation areas in the Antarctic. Scientific Committee on Antarctic research/International Council of Scientific Unions, pp 23–29Google Scholar
  3. Brown DA (1966) Breeding biology of the Snow petrel Pagodroma nivea (Forster). ANARE Sci Rep, Ser B 89:1–63Google Scholar
  4. Cotton MJ (1963) The larvae of Ctenophthalmus nobilis (Rothschild) (Siphonaptera). Proc R Soc London, Ser A 38:153–158Google Scholar
  5. Cotton MJ (1970) The reproductive biology of Ctenophthalmus nobilis (Rothschild) (Siphonaptera). Proc R Soc London, Ser A 45:141–148Google Scholar
  6. Dunnet GM (1970) Siphonaptera. In: CSIRO. The insects of Australia. Melbourne University Press, pp 647–655Google Scholar
  7. Evans FC, Freeman RB (1950) On the relationships of some mammal fleas to their hosts. Ann Entomol Soc Am 43:320–333Google Scholar
  8. Freeman RB, Madsen H (1949) A parasitic flea larva. Nature 164:187–188Google Scholar
  9. Humphries DA (1967) The behaviour of fleas (Siphonaptera) within the cocoon. Proc R Soc London, Ser A 42:62–70Google Scholar
  10. Janion SM (1960) Quantitative dynamics in fleas (Aphaniptera) infesting mice of Puszcza Kampinoska Forest. Bull Acad Pol Sci 8:213–218Google Scholar
  11. Margalit J, Shulov AS (1972) Effect on temperature on the development of prepupa and pupa of the rat flea Xenopsylla chepis. J Med Entomol 9:117–125Google Scholar
  12. Murray MD, Orton MN, Cameron AS (1967) The Antarctic flea Glaciopsyllus antarcticus Smit and Dunnet. Antarct Res Ser 10:393–395Google Scholar
  13. Phillpot HR (1967) Selected surface data for Antarctic stations. Commonwealth of Australia, Bureau of MeterologyGoogle Scholar
  14. Prevost J (1953) Notes sur la reproduction du Fulmar antarctique Fulmarus glacialoides (A Smith). Alauda 21:157–164Google Scholar
  15. Rounsevell DE, Horne PA (1986) Terrestrial, parasitic and introduced invertebrates of the Vestfold Hills. In: Pickard J (ed) Antarctic oasis, Terrestrial environments and history of the Vestfold Hills. Academic Press, 309–331Google Scholar
  16. Rothschild M, Clay T (1956) Fleas flukes and cuckoos. Collins, LondonGoogle Scholar
  17. Rothschild M, Ford B (1973) Factors influencing the breeding of the rabbit flea (Spilopsyllus cuniculi): A spring-time accelerator and a kairomone in nestling rabbit urine with notes on Cediopsylla simplex, another “hormone bound” species. J Zool London 170:87–137Google Scholar
  18. Smith FGAM, Dunnet GM (1962) A new genus and species of flea from Antarctica. Pac Insects 4:895–903Google Scholar
  19. Traub R (1972) Notes on zoogeography, convergent evolution and taxonomy of fleas (Siphonaptera), based on collections from Gunong Benom and elsewhere in South-east Asia. 3. Zoogeography. Bull Br Mus Nat Hist Zool 23:392–450Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. J. Bell
    • 1
  • H. R. Burton
    • 1
  • J. A. van Franeker
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of ScienceAntarctic DivisionKingstonAustralia
  2. 2.Research Institute for Nature ManagementDen Burg, TexelThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations