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Crab Lice



Whitish with a dusky patch on each shoulder and pale reddish legs.


Difficult to see against a light surface due to small size and light color. Has a short, distinctly crab-like body with well-developed claws and pale reddish legs.

Where Found

Throughout the U.S. and around the world.


In a word -- ouch. Most often found in the pubic hair of adult humans where they cling to the pubic hair with highly modified claws. In some cases of heavy infestation, can also be found on the torso or in facial hair.


These insects are blood feeders.


Females lay two to three whitish eggs during a 14-hour period and may lay 15 to 50 eggs in a lifetime. Eggs hatch in six to eight days.


Bites can cause severe itching and skin irritation due to infection. "Blue spots" may result from the bite. They do not transmit disease agents.


Mainly acquired through sexual contact. Can also be innocently acquired through other means, such as sharing a bed with an infested person.

Good Riddance

See a physician for proper diagnosis and treatment. There is usually no need for a pesticide application, as this insect dies shortly if not on its host. Follow doctor's instructions and use prescribed medications as directed. Wash entire body thoroughly with soapy water and/or specially recommended shampoos.

Wash all clothes and bedding in hot soapy water and dry in dryer on higher heat cycle. It's important to alert one's sexual partner as to the presence of pubic lice because precautions or treatment may be required.