Parasitology Research

, Volume 105, Issue 1, pp 163–167 | Cite as

Pediculus humanus capitis (head lice) and Pediculus humanus humanus (body lice): response to laboratory temperature and humidity and susceptibility to monoterpenoids

  • A. Gallardo
  • G. Mougabure Cueto
  • M. I. Picollo
Original Paper


Human pediculosis is produced by Pediculus humanus humanus (Linnaeus 1758) and Pediculus humanus capitis (De Geer 1767). Laboratory-reared body lice, susceptible to insecticides, were used as reference in toxicological studies on head lice. In this work, we evaluated the survival of both subspecies at different temperatures and relative humidities and we propose the optimal conditions for comparative bioassays. Moreover, we used these conditions to test the activity of three monoterpenoids against both lice. The results showed differential response to changes in temperature and humidity between both organisms. The survival of body lice ranged between 83% and 100% and was not affected for the tested conditions. The survival of head lice depended on temperature, humidity, and exposure time. The optimal conditions for head lice were 18ºC and 97% relative humidity at 18 h of exposition. The insecticidal activity of three monoterpenoids (pulegone, linalool, and 1,8-cineole), evaluated according the selected conditions by topical application, showed no significant differences between males of body and head lice. To conclude, as head lice required more special laboratory conditions than body lice, the optimal head lice conditions should be used in both organisms in comparative bioassays. Body louse is an appropriate organism for testing products against of head louse.


Linalool Spinosad Typhus Head Louse Pulegone 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Gallardo
    • 1
  • G. Mougabure Cueto
    • 1
  • M. I. Picollo
    • 1
  1. 1.Centro de Investigaciones de Plagas e Insecticidas (CITEFA-CONICET)Villa MartelliArgentina

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