Buffalo louse

(Haematopinus tuberculatus)

This species was originally a parasite of water buffalo but is now also found parasitising cattle in northern Australia.

Type

Sucking louse, fine mouthparts puncture the skin to feed on cattle blood.

Adult size

The largest of the cattle lice with the adults up to 5.5 mm long. (Figure 1)

Figure 1. Buffalo louse, Haematopinus tuberculatus, adult male left and female right. Image credit Vincenzo Veneziano.
Figure 1. Buffalo louse, Haematopinus tuberculatus, adult male left and female right. Image credit Vincenzo Veneziano.

Eggs

Largest eggs of cattle lice at 1.2 mm – 1.9 mm in length

Location on animal

These lice can be found on the back, hind legs, ear, neck, shoulder, elbow, vulva and thigh of hosts. The first and second stage nymphs tend to feed in areas on cattle where the skin is thinner, such as on the inner side of the legs or on the neck and belly.

Figure 2. Buffalo louse Haematopinus tuberculatus eggs (nits) on hairs. Image credit Vincenzo Veneziano.
Figure 2. Buffalo louse Haematopinus tuberculatus eggs (nits) on hairs. Image credit Vincenzo Veneziano.

Life cycle

The incubation period of the eggs of this species is 9-12 days and the complete life cycle from egg to adult takes 21-27 days. Females can lay between 62 and 93 eggs over their 12-20 day lifespan.

Control

Populations of this species are unlikely to reach numbers of concern.

How and when to treat lice