This Giant Prehistoric Flea Gives Me the Heebie-Jeebies

By Sam Gibbs on at

I don’t know anyone who likes fleas, but they’re a common problem with owning cats. They’re little jumpy bastards who love nothing but to stick their fangs in you and feast on your tasty life-fluid – I hate them. But this fossil of a giant 165 million-year-old 2cm-long flea makes me feel a bit sick.

It reportedly gnawed on early feathered or haired dinosaurs, so it’s mouth would have to been absolutely razor sharp to get through their tough hides. They didn’t have the ability to bound like our modern fleas do though, so that’s one saving grace I guess. Instead of hopping from one host to the next, it’s suggested they were more like ambush predators – waiting for something juicy to come by latching on, slicing, sucking, and dicing, before rolling off back into the undergrowth.

Thankfully these big blighters were wiped out when the dinosaurs were. Imagine fleas the size of that thing hopping off your cat for a little nibble of your neck – it makes me shudder at the thought. [Nature via io9]