Laterally compressed bodies and large hind legs characterize all fleas. Unlike the dog and cat fleas, the sticktight flea (Echidnophaga gallinacea) lacks genal (mustache area) and pronotal (back of head) ctenidia (combs) and is less than half the size of the cat flea. Unlike the Xenopsylla flea, the sticktight flea has no pleural rod (a vertical rod visible within the mesopleuron above the second pair of legs). Additional features include a head that is flattened anteriorly and 2 pairs of setae (hairs) found behind the antennae. True to its name, the sticktight flea has the ability to tightly stick to its host through broad and serrated laciniae (stiletto-shaped cutting extensors of the maxilla).