- pubic louse insect is easily differentiated from the head louse and body louse by the strong thick claws of the mid and hind legs, while the claws of the fore legs are long and fine. The body is broader than long.
The spread of pubic lice
Adult crab lice are only a little over half the size of body or head lice, rarely more than 1/12" long. Their last two pairs of legs terminate in hooked mitts that resemble crab claws. These lice are confined to coarse pubic hair and sometimes armpits, eyebrows and eyelashes. Pubic lice move very little in the pubic region and produce few eggs. The most common method of transmission of crab or public lice is by sexual intercourse. When infested pubic hair detaches, lice can hatch on underwear, towels, in beds, or on toilet fixtures. If their immediate environment is above 50 degrees Fahrenheit, a pair of pubic lice could infest another person without personal contact.
Pubic lice life cycle
The egg is small and glued to a body hair with a sticky substance created by the female louse. The egg hatches in 7 - 8 days. The three nymphal stages do not wander far from the hair, which is grasped with the tarsal claws. Several hours are usually taken to complete each bloodsucking meal. They occasionally are found on eye lashes and eye brows. The nymphs become adults in from 13 - 17 days and it seems probable that the length of adult life is not more than one month. Fewer eggs are laid by pubic lice than body lice.
Crab lice usually die within 24 hours if separated from their host. This short survival and their sluggish movement inhibit the spread of crab lice, except through intimate (sexual) personal contact or in extremely crowded living and sleeping conditions where they can and do spread readily. Crab lice may be (but rarely are) spread by nits on loose hairs left on bedding, towels and toilets by infested persons.
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