- Common name for members of the ectoparasitic insect orders Anoplura (sucking lice) and Mallophaga (biting lice). Important species are Felicola subrostrata (cat l.), Goniocotes gallinae (fluff l.), Goniodes dissimilis (brown chicken l.), Haemodipsus ventricosus (rabbit l.), Lipeurus caponis (wing l.), Menacanthus stramineus (chicken body l.), Pthirus pubis (crab or pubic l.), and Polyplax serratus (mouse l.). [A.S. lus]- biting l., chewing l., feather l. ectoparasites (order Mallophaga) chiefly found on birds, where they feed on feathers, hair, epidermal debris, and (less commonly) on blood; they possess nipper-like, heavily sclerotized mandibles and a characteristic broad head; many species are host-specific.- sea l. the very small larvae of the thimble jellyfish (Linuche unguiculata).- sucking l. blood-sucking mammalian ectoparasites (order Anoplura), characterized by a narrow head with piercing and sucking mouthparts that lie in a sac concealed in the head.
* * *louse 'lau̇s n, pl lice 'līs any of the small wingless usu. flattened insects that are parasitic on warm-blooded animals and constitute the orders Anoplura and Mallophaga
* * *n. (pl. lice)a small wingless insect that is an external parasite of humans. Lice attach themselves to hair and clothing using their well-developed legs and claws. Their flattened leathery bodies are resistant to crushing and their mouthparts are adapted for sucking blood. Lice thrive in overcrowded and unhygienic conditions; they can infest humans (see pediculosis) and they may transmit disease. See also Pediculus, Phthirus.
* * *(lous) pl. lice [L. pediculus] any of various wingless insects parasitic on birds and mammals; they are classified into two orders, Anoplura (the sucking lice) and Mallophaga (the bird lice or biting lice). The causal organisms of typhus, relapsing fever, trench fever, and other diseases are transmitted by louse bites.
Medical dictionary. 2011.