of the plague, fleas were responsible for one of the greatest catastrophes
in the history of mankind, the Black Death, which killed one third of
the population of Europe in the Middle Ages. Fleas still kill in Madagascar
and Zaire by transmitting bubonic plague ... Paradoxically, scientists
used them as living syringes. Their ability to transmit "germs"
is used to vaccinate wild rabbits against myxamatosis.
AS A HOBBY
are a true hobby for many people. They are classified and huge
amounts of data are stored in the best traditions of the secret
services. Collectors are fascinated by their history, anti-flea
furs, flea-hunting records and even erotic poems in which they
figure ! Some collectors, like the famous banker Lord Rothschild,
build up fabulous collections with over 270,000 specimens and
they are even dressed up in tiny fragments of fabric and accessories
made to their size.
AS A BUSINESS
are invaders. Their public enemy n°1 is a scientist known
as Dr FLEA. In Miami, the "flea squad" receives up to
1,000 emergency calls a week. A booming business has grown around
laboratories producing products to fight parasites by raising
and marketing fleas at 10 cents each.
are amazing jumpers. In fact, on their scale, a jump would take
a man over the Eiffel tower ! They are fast movers too-with an
acceleration 50 times greater than a space shuttle. And tireless-their
ability to jump over 600 times an hour makes them remarkable circus
"...Ladies and gentlemen, do not hesitate... if you are stinging
for something unusual, the show is on the screen!"