Encyclopedia of Parasitology

Living Edition
| Editors: Heinz Mehlhorn

Pediculus humanus corporis

  • Heinz Mehlhorn
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27769-6_2353-2


Latin: pediculus = small foot, humanus = human, corpus = body; French: pou, German: Kleiderlaus.


General Information

This louse is larger than P. h. capitis reaching a length of about 4.5 mm (Figs. 1 and 2). The mean time for the development of one generation takes about 15–25 days; lower temperatures increase the time needed. Body lice suck all 5 h; however, they may starve much longer than head lice, which survive 1–2 days at the maximum (mostly much less). Body lice starve for 10 days (at 0–6 °C), 7 days (at 10–20 °C), 2 days at (25–30 °C), but only 1 day at 35–37 °C. Body lice are important vectors of agents of diseases, e.g., Rickettsia prowazeki (agent of louse-borne spotted typhus), Prowazek.


Life Cycle Human Body General Information Head Louse Important Vector 
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  1. Mehlhorn H (2011) Head lice and their control. A long lasting story. In: Preedy VR (2011) Handbook of hair in health and disease. Wageningen Academic Publishers; pp. 355–386Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut für Zoomorphologie, Zellbiologie und ParasitologieHeinrich-Heine-UniversitätDüsseldorfGermany