Sticktight Fleas on Chicken Photo: backyardchickens.com The sticktight flea, Echidnophaga gallinacea, is an exotic species in North America that feeds on birds and small mammals. It is not typically assoicated with the wild bird population. However, Boughton and colleagues* reported Florida Scrub Jays (a species threatened with extinction) infested with sticktight fleas in 2004. About 14% of the Florida Scrub Jays examined were infested and almost 50% died compared to 6% mortality among uninfested Jays. A nearby ranch had animals with sticktight fleas and the Jays may have contacted the fleas while foraging on scraps at the ranch. Exotic species, such as sticktight flea, may have unexpected consequences for native flora and fauna.
*R. K. Boughton, J. W. Atwellf, and S. J. Schoech. AN INTRODUCED GENERALIST PARASITE, THE STICKTIGHT FLEA AND ITS PATHOLOGY IN THE THREATENED FLORIDA SCRUB-JAY. J. Parasitol. 92(5), 2006: 941-948.