Big fleas have little fleas upon their backs to bite them

Check out the red mite or tick on the side of the fly!

The vermin only teaze and pinch

Their foes superior by an inch.

So, naturalists observe, a flea

Has smaller fleas that on him prey;

And these have smaller still to bite ’em,

And so proceed ad infinitum.

Taken from “On Poetry: a Rhapsody“, Jonathon Swift (1733)

I was taken aback when I saw this robber fly on my hydrangea about to tuck into a smaller fly while he himself was being made a meal of by a red tick or mite on his side.

So what’s inside the mite – bacteria, ‘phages, viruses, prions?  Mmm, first poetry, next philosophy, I think I prefer to keep to observation.

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6 thoughts on “Big fleas have little fleas upon their backs to bite them

    • Thank you for the identification, I was not inferring that it was a flea in the literal sense more that it was an insect (like the flea) that is not held in high regard by humans. Are you an insect enthousiast?

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