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Human head and body lice are wingless, flattened insects with mouthparts for sucking blood. The head is somewhat narrower than the rest of the elongated body. Adults are small, about the size of a sesame seed (2.5–3.5 mm; 0.1 inch). Head and body lice are gray to tan in color. If they have fed recently, the blood meal will be visible through the body and make them appear darker. Bloodsucking lice have a large claw at the end of each leg that fits snugly around a hair shaft, allowing them to cling securely to their host or the fibers of their clothing. Lice cannot fly or jump; they can only crawl.
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Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; M. Ray McKinnie, Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State University, Petersburg.
May 19, 2015