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Article

Morphometrics as a Complementary Tool in the Differentiation of Two Cosmopolitan Flea Species: Ctenocephalides felis and Ctenocephalides canis

Department of Microbiology and Parasitology, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Seville, Profesor García González 2, 41012 Sevilla, Spain
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Academic Editor: Alison Gray
Insects 2022, 13(8), 707; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects13080707
Received: 3 July 2022 / Revised: 26 July 2022 / Accepted: 2 August 2022 / Published: 5 August 2022
(This article belongs to the Section Insect Systematics, Phylogeny and Evolution)
Members of Siphonaptera are commonly known as fleas. With more than 2500 species described worldwide, they constitute one of the most important parasites in our environment. The cat flea, Ctenocephalides felis, and the dog flea, Ctenocephalides canis, can also affect humans and represent a potential danger for the transmission of pathogens. Despite being two of the most frequently studied species, the classification and taxonomic diversity of these fleas is controversial. Variations in their morphological characteristics frequently hinder their correct identification and give rise to several uncertainties. To provide further information on the identification of these flea species, a geometric morphometrics analysis was conducted. This technique assisted in differentiating between specimens of both species, demonstrating that it can provide useful complementary data and new insights for the classification of flea species, especially when molecular biology techniques are not affordable or available.
Fleas (Siphonaptera) are one of the most important ectoparasites that represent a potential danger for the transmission of pathogens in our environment. The cat flea, Ctenocephalides felis (Bouché, 1835), and the dog flea, Ctenocephalides canis (Curtis, 1826) are among the most prevalent and most frequently studied species throughout the world. However, the variations observed in their morphological characteristics complicate their correct identification, especially when there is a lack of access to the equipment and funds required to carry out molecular biology techniques. With the objective to provide an additional tool to help in the differentiation of Ctenocephalides species, a principal component analysis was carried out for the first time in the present work on populations of C. felis and C. canis from countries in three continents, namely Spain (Europe), South Africa (Africa) and Iran (Asia). The factor maps assisted in the differentiation of both species and the detection of differences in overall size, although morphological ambiguity prevented the delimitation in populations of the same species. Thus, morphometrics represents a complementary tool to other traditional and modern techniques, with great potential to assist in the differentiation of fleas, particularly species that have historically been difficult to identify. View Full-Text
Keywords: fleas; Siphonaptera; Ctenocephalides; morphometrics; PCA; geometric morphometrics fleas; Siphonaptera; Ctenocephalides; morphometrics; PCA; geometric morphometrics
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MDPI and ACS Style

García-Sánchez, A.M.; Zurita, A.; Cutillas, C. Morphometrics as a Complementary Tool in the Differentiation of Two Cosmopolitan Flea Species: Ctenocephalides felis and Ctenocephalides canis. Insects 2022, 13, 707. https://doi.org/10.3390/insects13080707

AMA Style

García-Sánchez AM, Zurita A, Cutillas C. Morphometrics as a Complementary Tool in the Differentiation of Two Cosmopolitan Flea Species: Ctenocephalides felis and Ctenocephalides canis. Insects. 2022; 13(8):707. https://doi.org/10.3390/insects13080707

Chicago/Turabian Style

García-Sánchez, Angela María, Antonio Zurita, and Cristina Cutillas. 2022. "Morphometrics as a Complementary Tool in the Differentiation of Two Cosmopolitan Flea Species: Ctenocephalides felis and Ctenocephalides canis" Insects 13, no. 8: 707. https://doi.org/10.3390/insects13080707

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