Bovicola bovis

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Bovicola bovis
Class Insecta
Order Phthiraptera
Family Trichodectidae
Species Bovicola bovis

Also known as: Red Louse — Cattle Chewing Louse — Damalinia bovis

Bovicola bovis is a chewing louse found commonly on the hair of the head, neck, back and the rump. In heavy infections, the infestation will spread to the rest of the body. The cause pediculosis.


The adults are a dark red colour with distinct transverse bands surrounding the abdomen. A fully mature adult will measure around 2mm in length. They have adapted mouthparts designed for chewing, as the lice feed on the outer layer of the hair shafts. They have long, thin legs with claws on the tips adapted for moving along the hair of the host.

Life Cycle

The female lays eggs on the host, which can be clearly seen as white eggs on the hairs of the host. These eggs hatch after 7-10 days. After 3 further nymphal stages, the nymph moults again to become an adult. The complete cycle from egg, to a fully mature adult takes around 2-3 weeks.

The adults may live for up to 10 weeks, and each female is capable of laying one egg every 2 days on average.

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