Difference Wiki

Lice vs. Fleas

The main difference between Lice and Fleas is that some Lice species like Fleas are parasites feeding on living skin, whereas Fleas are true parasites that live on the blood of mammals and birds.

Key Differences

Lice do not spread diseases, whereas Fleas carry different diseases in their host.
Lice lay eggs of coffee-colored; on the other hand, eggs of Fleas are white-colored.
Lice are phthiraptera directive, whereas Fleas are Siphonaptera directive.
Samantha Walker
Sep 03, 2023
Lice's life cycle consists of three periods; on the flip side, Flea's life cycle consists of four phases.
Lice are commonly present in human beings conversely; Fleas are usually associated with pets.
Lice are strictly hosted specifically on the flip side; Fleas do not exhibit a significant level of host specificity.
Lice do not move as much on the flip side; Fleas move about a lot.
Lice cannot cover long distances; on the other hand, Fleas can easily cover long distances.
Janet White
Sep 03, 2023
Lice cannot jump while Fleas have long legs that support them in jumping.

Comparison Chart


Wingless usually flattened bloodsucking insect parasitic on warm-blooded animals.
These are parasites that live in the blood of mammals.




Dark grey
Dark reddish-brown


more than 4.5mm
more than 1-4mm.
Harlon Moss
Sep 03, 2023

Lice and Fleas Definitions


Plural of louse.


Any of various small, wingless, bloodsucking insects of the order Siphonaptera that are parasitic on mammals and birds and can jump long distances.


Any of various small crustaceans that resemble or move like fleas, such as the water flea.


Plural of flea


Infl of flea

Lice vs. Fleas

Lice have relation to the phthiraptera generation. Fleas belong to the Siphonaptera generation. Lice do not move around as much as Fleas. Fleas move around as much. Lice spend their entire life in a single host such as humans. Fleas spend their whole life on different hosts or pets.

Lice adhere to their host through their hard and short legs. Fleas jump around with their long legs. Lice move and spread from one host to another through close contacts. A Flea can jump fast like a grasshopper with the help of its hind pair of legs, as legs of Fleas are longer

What is Lice?

Lice are ectoparasites that thrive on animals as well as humans. Like Fleas, the bodies of Lice are also flattened dorsally. This body structure makes Lice to move easily through the hair of the host. Lice have hooks to hold on to the host’s body. Lice do not leave the body of their host in their entire lifetime. It means Lice are obligate parasites.

Lice do not leave the host’s body even for laying eggs. Nits (the eggs of Lice) hatch into nymphs and are yellowish oval particles that are attached to the host’s hair trough. Lice suck the blood of their host and make them blood deficient. The claws and legs of Lice are firm. This property of Lice makes them cling to the host’s hair and feather.

So, they can move easily through the host’s hair. Coffee colored eggs of Lice turn white after hatching. When Lice bite, it causes strong irritation and prickliness. This itchiness can lead to secondary and severe skin infections when spoiled. It becomes hard to treat.

Lice also act as vectors for some diseases as of typhus and European relapsing fever. Lice secrete waste material in the human’s head. When some areas of the scalp are bitten and get rubbed, these excreta can get in, causing lethal infections. E.g. The most common example of Lice is Head Lice of human beings.

What are Fleas?

Fleas are ectoparasites of both humans and mammals. Fleas have laterally compressed bodies that help them to move fast through the hair of the host. Fleas body is refined, which is hard and having hair and short bristles present backward. It makes their body tough and hard, which enables them to bear any strong pressure or stress.

Fleas do not live all over the body of their host. Instead, they live on specific areas of the animal body as under the armpits and behind the ears of the host where it is comparatively warm. These are usually accompanying pets and thrive on their blood. Their body is flat, and they also have different body color as compared to Lice.

The claws of Fleas help them to stick to the body of their host. They have the third pair of legs. This pair of legs are very strong and aid Fleas to jump from one host to another. Usual hosts of Fleas are animals, including pigs, dogs, cats, rats, and mice. When they found none of this host they may feed on humans.

Fleas are associated with some diseases, and they serve as vectors for some diseases as bubonic plague and anthrax. Germs of these diseases may also be present in their spit. When a host’s skin is rubbed with germs of anthrax, chances of developing disease enhance. E.g. Fleas of pigs, cats, dogs, etc.

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