Five New Flea Species Discovered in Indonesia

Posted on April 14, 2016

Musserellus vanpeeneni

Scientists have discovered five previously unknown species of fleas and a new genus in Indonesia. Four of the species were collected on the island Sulawesi and the fifth species was found in the Indonesian province of West Papua on the island of New Guinea. The discovery was made by David K. Mardon and Lance A. Durden.

The newly discovered fleas each possess certain genital features not found in any known genera. The fleas are all associated with rats and other rodents. The new genus was named n honor of Dr. Guy Musser, who collected some of the specimens in Sulawesi in the 1970s. The five new species are: Musserellus vanpeeneni, Musserellus wattsi, Musserellus whitei, Musserellus marshalli, and Musserellus dunneti. An adult male Musserellus vanpeeneni is pictured above.

Dr. Durden of Georgia Southern University says in a statement that "male flea genitalia is arguably the most complex genitalia of any organism and consists of a bedazzling array of uniquely shaped plates, rods, and spines that connect with the female of the same species during mating like a three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle."

A research paper on the discovery was published here in the Journal of Medical Entomology .

Photo: Hunter Seabolt


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