Fleas & Ticks There are over 2,000 described species of fleas in the world. Eggs are oval, and smooth. They are tiny (0.5mm), but visible to the naked eye. Their white color may prevent them from being seen on lightly colored fabric. Adults are about 1-3 mm in length, reddish-brown to black, wingless, and laterally compressed. Their powerful hind legs are well adapted for jumping and running through hair and feathers. The 8-legged adult male and female D. variabilis ticks are typically brown to reddish-brown in color with gray/silver markings on their scutum (dorsal “shield”). The female will vary in size depending on whether or not it has blood fed. Unfed females are typically 5 mm long and are slightly larger than males, which are about 3.6 mm long. Females can be distinguished by a short or small dorsal scutum, right behind the mouthparts while the male scutum covers the majority of its dorsal surface. Blood-fed (engorged) females can enlarge up to 15 mm long and 10 mm wide.