Weight gain by adult cat fleas, Ctenocephalides felis (Bouché), was influenced primarily by the concentrations of protein and sodium chloride in the feeding solution. After 48 h of feeding, fleas fed whole blood weighed almost twice as much as fleas fed plasma or hemolyzed blood and 1.25 times as much as fleas fed 0.15 M sodium chloride. When fleas were fed sodium chloride solutions ranging from 0 to 0.5 M, weight gain was greatest on the 0.15- or 0.2-M solutions. Weight gain decreased significantly when fleas were fed plasma, hemolyzed blood or 0.3 or 0.5 M sodium chloride in place of whole blood, but improved when plasma was diluted 100% and when hemolyzed blood was diluted 10% with distilled water. Adenosine-5′-triphosphate did not appear to stimulate weight gain in cat fleas; weight gain was unchanged in fleas fed hemolyzed blood or 0.15 M sodium chloride to which 0.005 M ATP was added. Insemination did not occur in starved fleas or those fed protein-free diets. When fleas were starved or fed distilled water, sodium chloride, or other salt solutions, sperm was transferred from the testes to the vas deferens in 91–94% of males, but no females were inseminated. In contrast, when fleas were fed whole blood, hemolyzed blood, plasma, or bovine serum albumin (3.5 or 7.0 g/deciliter) dissolved in 0.15 M saline, 80, 80, 10, and 10% of the females were inseminated, respectively.
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Vol. 39 • No. 2