Lice (order Phthiraptera) are hemimetabolous insects that are distributed worldwide and have approximately 5,000 valid species divided in 4 suborders: Amblycera, Ischnocera, Rhynchophthirina, and Anoplura. They are permanent and obligate ectoparasites of birds and mammals, and their life cycle is completed on the host’s body. In most cases, each louse species is restricted to a species or a phylogenetically close group of hosts. As a result of this high specificity they have been used as phylogenetic markers in coevolutionary processes.
Kamila Kuabara is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Biodiversity, Earth and Environmental Science at Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA. Her research focuses on the interactions between chewing lice and birds, mainly from the Neotropical region. She holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Biological Science from the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil.