Under a high magnification of 2428x, this 2006 scanning electron micrograph (SEM) depicted an enlarged inferior view of the mouthparts found on the cephalic, or head region of a male body louse, Pediculus humanus var. corporis. The 'floral'-like structure in this field of view represents the labial funnel, or 'haustellum', which is a tube-like structure, formed from what is believed to be a modification of the labium, but is armed with teeth, which act to grab, and hold on to the skin surface of its host while obtaining its blood meal. The insect pierces the host's skin with its sharply-pointed set of three stylets, and together, form what is termed the fascicle, which is hidden from view in this image. Note PHIL# 9214, 9216, in which case a louse is in its feeding mode on the skin surface of its host.
CDC/ Joseph Strycharz, Ph.D.; Kyong Sup Yoon, Ph.D.; Frank Collins, Ph.D.
November 2, 2012