Life Cycle and Etiology.Edit
Bloodlice have a life expectancy of roughly 3 weeks. As early as one week old, female bloodlice may begin to develop eggs. At two weeks old bloodlice of both genders begin to seek-out warm-blooded hosts, the Monkey-Lizards of Kowak are particularly common hosts for these bloodlice. Bloodlice enter their prey typically by dropping onto them from treetops while they sleep and burrowing through their skin.
The female bloodlice will then make her way into the host's bloodstream and eject her eggs, usually pasting them to the surface of red blood cells to disguise them from the host's immune system. A single female may lay up to 30,000 eggs in its life. These eggs are unfertilized however, and they depend on the male making its way into the bloodstream as well. Once in the bloodstream, the male releases its semen into the blood, hoping that a female has also made its way into the host, and that its seed reaches an egg to fertilize. Once it does this, the male typically dies and is removed from the blood by the host's immune system. The female however may remain in the host's blood for another week, gorging itself on the hosts' red blood cells.
Typically the fertilized eggs take two weeks to develop. Those born first will eat not only the cell to which they are attached, but also the eggs of its brothers and sisters, whether fertilized or not. For this reason those born earlier tend to have an advantage over those born later.
After birth, the bloodlice develop rapidly, gaining nearly 300% times their birth weight and side in only three days. Many of the lice may spend their entire lives inside the host, repeating this process, however others are caught by the host's liver and discarded as excrement.
For the young discarded lice this is not the end however, as the may survive in the open for several weeks, living off the decaying fecal matter. Once ready to spawn, the lice begin a hunt for their own host to start fresh.
Bloodlice in MedicineEdit
An interesting fact is that bloodlice are immensely territorial, and may actually fight off invading bloodlice and other foreign bodies. For this reason there is experimental treatment using bloodlice to fight off infections in those with paralyzed or weakened immune systems. Bloodlice are then in tern treated with a mild insecticide.
Bloodlice are also highly transmissive by blood-to-blood contact, however the overall incidence of this form of transmission is very low.
Hosts of persistent or repeated infestations are often anemic due to the loss of oxygen-carrying red bloodcells.