Bloodsucking arthropods are often featured in the news—as pests, as spreaders of frightening diseases, as invaders. Most bites, although irritating, are harmless, but others that are deadly may go unnoticed. Yet we do not always fully appreciate the diversity of these blood-feeding organisms and their relationship to humans. Each has a unique repertoire of adaptations and a distinct lifestyle that have evolved in close association with a host. All blood feeders need one essential element to live—blood.
This exhibit focuses on six blood-feeding species: the bedbug, flea, head louse, pubic louse, mosquito and tick. It aims to provide a better understanding of each of these blood-feeding species by answering these questions:
What does the blood feeder look like?
How does it get blood and how did that behavior originate?
How does it use the blood it feeds on?
How do we identify this blood feeder from among the many harmless arthropods?
How can we protect ourselves from this blood feeder?