Differential diagnosis between Tunga penetrans (L., 1758) and T. trimamillata Pampiglione et al., 2002 (Insecta, Siphonaptera), the two species of the genus Tunga parasitic in man.Parasite. 2004 Mar; 11(1):51-7.P
Of the ten currently known species of sand fleas, only two, Tunga penetrans and Tunga trimamillata, are known to be parasites of man, besides other warm blooded animals, most of which are peridomestic. The hosts of the other eight are limited to a few genera of wild mammals. T. trimamillata was only recently identified and differentiated from T. penetrans by features of the gravid female phase. In the present paper the different morphological characters of both for non-gravid females and males of the two species are described. In the non-gravid-females the distinguishing characters are: a) differences in the length of the first two segments of the maxillary palps (the first is the longest in T. trimamillata, whereas the second is the longest in T. penetrans), this feature is associated with another character i.e. the presence of short, thick spines in addition to the bristles on the surface of the segments only in T. trimamillata; b) the presence, only in T. trimamillata, of a row of spines on the antero-medial surface of the libia of the 3rd pair of legs; c) the last abdominal spiracle protrudes in T. trimamillata but not in T. penetrans; d) the hood of the hilla in spermatheca is surrounded by a papilla only in T. penetrans. The following morphological characters differentiate males of T. trimamillata and T. penetrans: a) T. trimamillata has a row of spines on the antero-medial surface of the tibia of the 3rd pair of legs; b) the diameter of the abdominal spiracles of T. trimamillata is smaller than that of T. penetrans and the edges of the spiracles are more regular; c) the claspers and aedeagus of T. trimamillata are shorter than those of T. penetrans; d) the profile of the oedeagal apodeme differs between the two species.