Date of this Version
Parasitology (March 1908) 1(1): 1-100.
By Heinrich Ernst Karl Jordan and Nathaniel Charles Rothschild.
The importance of certain species of fleas in relation to the epidemiology of plague has been so amply demonstrated (see Journal of Hygiene, volumes VI 1906, p. 426, and VII 1907, p. 395) that an explanation appears scarcely necessary for our publishing a paper dealing with a revision of the non-pectinated eyed Siphonaptera. With the demonstration that fleas are capable of transmitting plague, their study at once ceased to be the mere hobby of a small group of entomological specialists. An accurate knowledge of fleas, both with regard to their structure and biology, is at present a matter of prime importance to those who concern themselves with the prophylaxis of plague.
The assumption seems justified that the species which is most abundant on rats in those portions of the world where plague is endemic will be the one which is most instrumental in spreading the disease.
In a paper by Rothschild (1906, p. 483) it was stated that the species of flea usually found on rats in tropical and subtropical countries is Puleas cheopis Rothsch. When investigating the fleas which occur on any given host it appears to us to be essential to ascertain if there is more than one species associated with the spread of disease in the host, and to demonstrate precisely, in order to avoid confusion, the characters by which the various allied species can be distinguished.