Identification and morphological characterisation of spiny rat louse (Polyplax spinulosa) from a laboratory rat
Sarita Jena, S Parthasarathy and Saurabh Chawla
Lice infestation is uncommon in laboratory animals but accidental entry to animal facility may occur through wild rodent admittance or breach in strict quarantine procedures. A case of lice (Polyplax spinulosa) infestation was detected in rat during health monitoring of quarantined animals in experimental animal house facility of Institute of Life Sciences, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India. A male rat of 8 weeks age, procured from another lab animal facility by road, was isolated to sick animal room upon observation of alopecia and restlessness. The observed clinical symptoms were decreased grooming behaviour, scratching, restlessness, debilitation, alopecia and paleness of eyes and mucous membrane. The parasite was isolated and identified as Spiny Rat Louse (Polyplax spinulosa) upon detailed microscopic examination. All stages of life cycle of the louse i.e. nit, nymph and adult were identified and detail morphological characterisation was done.