Pictures of Lice, Nymphs, and Nits
The head louse or Pediculus humanus capitis, is an insect and parasite whose only host are humans. Lice feed on blood several times daily and reside near the scalp to maintain its body temperature.
The head lice life cycle has three stages: egg, nymph, and adult.
Eggs: Nits are head lice eggs. They are quite small and have the appearance of a small sesame seed. Nits are laid by an impregnated female adult louse. Nits are super glued onto the shaft of the hair usually close to the scalp but it is not uncommon to find nits in other areas of the hair. Nits are brownish in color when viable and whitish or yellowish in color when non-viable. Nits take around 5-7 days to hatch. Nits may be found for up to 2 months following an infestation
Nymphs: When a nit hatches a nymph is born. . The nit shell or casing turns white or yellow and remains attached to the shaft of the hair. The nymph resembles an adult louse but is much smaller; about the size of a pin head. Nymphs mature after three molts ( , ) and become adults about 7-10 days after hatching.
Adults: The adult louse is about the size of a grain of rice and has the appearance of an ant. Lice have 6 legs with claws or pinchers at the end of each. Lice are can be dark brown to whitish in color . Lice also have the ability to adjust their hue to better blend in with people who have darker or lighter hair. Male lice are smaller than female lice. Female lice can lay up to 8 eggs per day but usually 5 per day is the average. While on a persons head adult lice can live for 30 days. Lice lice need to feed on blood multiple timer per day. Without food heat, the louse will die within 1 to 2 days off the host.
Picture of an adult male and female louse
An adult louse is brownish in color and 2-3mm in length. They have an oblong diamond shaped abdomen with 6 legs towards their head. As head lice mature and grow larger they darken in color. Newborn lice are light brown, almost translucent in color. Head lice do not wings. Adult lice can be difficult to find because they move away from air and light when parting the hair to search. Checking for lice is best performed with
a lice comb.
Pictures of lice eggs called nits
Nits are brown in color and about the size of a poppy seed. Most nits are found within 1/2" of the scalp. Nit changes in color from dark brown to white and clear. When nits are newly hatched they are dark in color and plump. When the bug hatches the nit casing (or egg shell) is still glued to the hair. Nit casings are whitish in color and deflated.
Pictures of nymphs (baby lice)
Nymphs are premature lice. Nymphs are translucent and light brown in color. Nymphs take 7 -10 days to become full size. When nymphs hatch from the egg they are very small can can be difficult to see.
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