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 Review: Fleas, Lice, and Ticks (Play Visions)

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Country/State : Salt Lake City, UT
Age : 46
Joined : 2010-04-13
Posts : 1049

PostSubject: Review: Fleas, Lice, and Ticks (Play Visions)   Sun Aug 20, 2017 11:32 pm we go!

Review of the entire set of Fleas, Lice, and Ticks by Play Visions (1996). Many of you know I am a professional parasitologist and one of my specialties are arthropod ectoparasites. So, you can imagine this has been a ‘Holy Grail’ set of mine for a while. While at the time of this writing I only have seven of eight figures, I have been anxious to do a review of this set; the last image (pubic louse) is courtesy of dinocat from the TAI and will function as a placeholder until I can get and image a figure of my own!

This set was one of several taxonomically diverse sets by Play Visions in the mid-late 1990s and one of five sets that contained all arthropods (the others being Exotic Insects, Exotic Beetles, Crabs, and Bees, Wasps, and Hornets; I have reviews of the first three here on the ATF).

The figures are marked with a common name, the traditional ‘PV’ logo, and year (1996). There are some peculiarities on some of the species assignments, so I will address those below. The common name given below is what is stamped on the underside; what’s in parenthesis is Latin name or other designation I am assigning).

On to the figures (in no particular order):

1. scabies mite (Sarcoptes scabiei).
This one is pretty straight-forward and one of only two figures of this species I am aware of, the other being a model by GPI Anatomicals as part of their Canine Skin Parasites set.

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2. dust mite (Dermatophagoides farinae).
This is a particular figure that borders on cartoony and seem slightly out-of-place with others in the set. Still, it must be the ONLY figure of a dust mite in existence, huh? I chose D. farinae because it is the North American species; you guys in Europe may chose D. pteronyssinus :-).

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3. chigger (soft tick, family Argasidae).
This is one of two clearly misidentified figures in this set. The morphology here is clearly modeled after a soft (argasid) tick. Many soft ticks are superficially similar as adults, so assigning a species or even genus here is difficult. It is probably modeled after Ornithodoros or Carios. I am unaware of any other soft tick figures.

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4. deer tick (hard tick, family Ixodidae).
This is the other misidentified figure. In English, at least in North America, the term ‘deer’ tick refers to members of the genus Ixodes, which is one of the most medically-important genera of ticks as it transmits agents of Lyme disease and babesiosis. However, there are three dorsal features here that would normally rule-out a member of Ixodes: the presence of eyes, the presence of festoons, and an ornate dorsal shield. I am not sure what species this was modeled after, but for those of you that insist on assigning species-level IDs, the best option from what’s presented here is the Gulf Coast tick, Amblyomma maculatum. Several genera and species of hard ticks have been made (check out my thread on ‘Arthropod Ectoparasites’ under ‘Animal Groups’).

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5. bed bug (Cimex lectularius).
This is another fairly straight-forward one, and frankly my favorite in the set. I have thought about pitching a bed bug to some of the major toy animal manufacturers. I think between the animal toy collectors and medical and public health personnel, it would sell well haha. I have two others, a small one by Club Earth (Backyard Bugs) and a custom figure by Paleo-Creatures.

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6. head louse (Pediculus humanus).
As a ‘head’ louse specifically, this would be P. humanus capitis. The only other members of this species I have seen are vintage rubbery ones. I have seen several on eBay (I have lost a couple on bid attempts…) but only have one small one myself.

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7. cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis).
Several flea figures attributable to Ctenocephalides have been made (including the large figure by Safari LTD. for the Smithsonian Insects line), but this is the only one I know of specifically marketed as C. felis. I do have a couple figures marketed as the related dog flea, C. canis.

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8. pubic louse (Pthirus pubis).
Again, thanks to dinocat of letting me use his image until I can acquire this figure for myself. Probably the most bizarre choice ever for an animal figure, if for no other reason than the social stigma attributed to those colonized by this critter. There is one more figure, by Kaiyodo (Sanitary Insect Pest Exhibition), and I think there may be some vintage rubbery ones out there (you could make one with Creepy Crawly Thingmakers :) ).

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Country/State : Germany
Age : 42
Joined : 2010-12-30
Posts : 28390

PostSubject: Re: Review: Fleas, Lice, and Ticks (Play Visions)   Thu Aug 24, 2017 8:37 am

A strange and rare set :)

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