Louse Hierarchy: The Different Types & How to Treat Them

Different Types of Lice

Different Types of Lice

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In this article we will be discussing the different types of lice classifications. As you may or may not already know, the common head louse is a parasitic organism that depends entirely on its host for food, shelter and protection, without their host a bug will live for up to 48 hours and an egg will live for up to 10 days. In order to better understand the different types of lice out there and how to effectively treat them, it is important to understand the fact that lice are divided into different suborders and families and each one of them has distinct characteristics. If you are wondering how many types of lice are out there, then read on.

The Sucking Louse

The first type of louse that we will be discussing in this article is the Sucking Louse (also known as the Anoplura or the Sinphunculata). The Sucking Louse is one of the two traditional suborders of lice and their classification is generally divided into three further suborders. The sucking louse is a parasite that feeds on the blood of mammals (more specifically humans) and they are known for more frequently affecting small children due to the type of play they engage in. This type of lice, commonly known as head lice is spread from person to person through direct contact – head touching or sharing of personal items.

When the sucking louse or head lice infests a human being, this is called Pediculosis and the most effective way of dealing with pediculosis in both in adults and children is to use an effective head lice treatment. ClearLice is a natural lice treatment guaranteed to get rid of lice in one day without the use of chemicals or pesticides. It is important to treat the effected heads and the environment when it comes to dealing with head lice in order to avoid a lice re-infestation.

Mammal Chewing Lice

Also known as the biting louse. This subgenre of lice includes over 2900 species of wingless insects that affect some mammals like the lemur and beavers as well as some species of birds such as the pelicans and the cormorants.  One thing to consider when it comes to the Mammal Chewing Lice is the fact that they usually spend their whole life cycle on the feathers of the host. This type of louse is also divided into two subspecies of lice; the Ischnocera and the Amblycera, and even though they do have a lot of common traits, there are some differences that we need to take into consideration.


The Ischnocera is a very large type of lice that can affect birds and some mammals as well.  This type of louse feeds on living organisms by chewing the surface of the skin until it finds blood to feed itself. While this type of louse generally does not affect humans, it is important to know that it is known to carry some diseases as it feeds on the feathers and skin debris of birds. Their long shape allows them to hide themselves in between the feathers of birds, which allows them to stay attached to the bodies of the birds even during flight.


As we mentioned before, the Amblycera is the second suborder of the mammal chewing lice, this type of louse is also known for its large size but the main difference between it and the Ischnocera is the fact that they do not stay on their host permanently; instead, they roam freely over the surface of its host looking for the ideal spot to chew on the surface of skin in order to cause localized bleeding. Once the bleeding starts they feed on the blood and draw nutrients from it in order to stay alive. Another difference is that this type of louse generally has two sets of claws while the Ischnocera has only one. This of course changes the dynamic of its parasitic behavior as it is easier for them to find a feeding spot using the aide of two claw sets.


The last type of louse that we will find on this list is the Haematomyzus. These type of lice can be usually found on elephants, warthogs and wild hogs and are known for having jaws that resemble drills which allows them to penetrate the thick skin of their host. Obviously, these type of lice cannot survive on humans but it is important to know that they are still very common in areas where elephants are commonly found like the Indian Subcontinent and Sub-Saharan Africa.

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