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Author Topic: What are fleas good for? In nature most creatures seem to have a ‘use’ but...  (Read 866 times)

Offline P-Kasso2

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But fleas? Horrible little jumping biting fleas? Oh really? I cannot see any use in fleas at all - except maybe as disease and plague carriers. Great credentials.

So why fleas? Do fleas matter? I can only think that, like me, any human or animal would just feel highly chuffed if fleas were at the top of the endangered species red list.

So, what if all fleas suddenly disappeared overnight?
Would the world change for the worse? How?
What (if anything) are fleas good for? Why do they even exist?
"I live in hope"

Offline Duffield1

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A fascinating article on the BBC website with some theories:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/earth/story/20150127-what-if-all-the-pests-vanished


Offline P-Kasso2

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A fascinating article on the BBC website with some theories:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/earth/story/20150127-what-if-all-the-pests-vanished

Thank you Duff and...Bleeurrrch! That link you gave to the BBC site...is appalling!

For a start the Beeb says that "Scientists estimate that around 50% of all organisms are parasitic".

Only 50%? I say God obviously must have had a really macabre sense of humour when he was doing his Creation bit.

There's worse to come! The BBC reckons that "without parasites we might all stop having sex". Diabolical what?

But where does all this leave fleas? The Beeb article seems far more interested in Hookworms and Rhinoceros Bot Flies and the like...there's nowt about what fleas are good for.

In desperation I did a bit of googling and came up with this site with the decidedly un-scientific name of Thrifty Fun...

http://www.thriftyfun.com/tf492742.tip.html

Despite the daffy site name, they say that "In nine months, two fleas can generate 222 trillion descendants".

Now, I don't know what other IA members think but the fact that there are "over 2,000 different types of fleas throughout the world" all merrily bonking away 24/7 and reproducing at supersonic speed strikes me as ghastly and appalling! Fleas definitely, decidedly should not be allowed!

And more bad news! The site further re-inforces my long-held belief that fleas should immediately all be Rentokilled out of existence by adding...

"...there are those creatures that serve no purpose whatsoever. Fleas are such an example.
They don't pollinate any flowers, nor do they prey on any destructive or harmful insects.
Instead, they siphon the blood of unsuspecting animals and people, all the while passing harmful organisms into their bloodstream!"


QED says I, rapidly turning the page to more pleasant subjects such as genocide, plagues and multiple plane crashes.





"I live in hope"

Offline siasl

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I was recently listening to the Infinite Monkey Cage (Radio 4 podcast) that had an episode on insects, and one entomologist listed the flea as her favourite insect as it was so well adapted to its role. The larval stage can wait for ages until a host is passing, with warmth triggering it to emerge and latch on. It has backward facing barbs to make it harder to extract from fur, and a whole bunch of other adaptations. Fascinating stuff.

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Re: What are fleas good for?
« Reply #4 on: 29 July, 2017, 05:40:48 PM »
I was recently listening to the Infinite Monkey Cage (Radio 4 podcast) that had an episode on insects, and one entomologist listed the flea as her favourite insect as it was so well adapted to its role. The larval stage can wait for ages until a host is passing, with warmth triggering it to emerge and latch on. It has backward facing barbs to make it harder to extract from fur, and a whole bunch of other adaptations. Fascinating stuff.

Fascinating stuff? Backward facing barbs are fascinating? Not if you happen to be the 'heat source' that is wandering by the snoozing flea and become the item on its taster menu!

In my book "backward facing barbs and a whole mass of "other adaptations" do not a cuddly critter make. Nope. Fleas are atrocious and non-contributory varmints - they always have been and always will be, unless we napalm them.

I well remember one summer when I was living in Balham as a student and a biblical plague of cat fleas the size of biting lemon pips blitzed South London. Diabolical! Disgusting! Hideous! And these were cat fleas - not human fleas. And I didn't even have a cat!

It was impossible to sleep at night without itching and scratching and waking up with the night horrors sweating and dribbling about alien giant saucer-sized flea invasions from Mars. If you have ever had fleas in your bed you'll know what I mean. So I still say we can merrily wave all fleas goodbye and they can take their loathsome backward facing barbs with them.

What have fleas ever done for us?
"I live in hope"