Letter | Published:

Breeding of the Rabbit Flea, Spilopsyllus cuniculi (Dale) : Requirement of a ‘Factor’ from a Pregnant Rabbit for Ovarian Maturation



A STUDY of the biology of the European rabbit-flea (Spilopsyllus cuniculi) was commenced by this department when it became apparent that it was an important vector of myxomatosis in Great Britain. A technique for the laboratory culture of the flea was required, but was not rapidly forthcoming. It was repeatedly found that fleas released on domestic or wild rabbits kept in various types of hutches failed to produce eggs. However, Miriam Rothschild1 reported that the flea bred when rabbits were kept under semi-natural conditions in an outdoor enclosure, and with her encouragement a study was made of ovarian development in the flea (Mead-Briggs, A. R., unpublished work).

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  1. 1

    Rothschild, M., Entomologist, 90, 304 (1957).

  2. 2

    Buxton, P. A., Parasitol., 39, 119 (1948).

  3. 3

    Wigglesworth, V. B., Proc. Roy. Soc., B, 131, 313 (1943).

  4. 4

    Brambell, F. W. R., Hemmings, W. A., Henderson, M., and Kekwick, R. A., Proc. Roy. Soc., B, 141, 300 (1953).

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