We tested Szidat's rule (the more primitive the host, the more primitive the parasites it harbours) by analysing the relationships between phylogenetic clade ranks of fleas and their small mammalian hosts in four biogeographic realms (Afrotropics, Neotropics, Nearctic and Palearctic). From the host perspective, we tested the association between host clade rank and the mean clade rank of all fleas collected from this host. From the flea perspective, we tested the relationships between flea clade rank and the mean clade rank of hosts on which this flea was recorded. First, we tested whether the analysis of the relationships between host and flea clade ranks should be controlled for phylogenetic dependence among either host or flea species. Then, we tested for the associations between host and flea clade ranks separately for each realm using either a phylogenetic general least-squares analysis or an ordinary least-squares analysis. In all realms, the mean clade rank of fleas parasitic on a given host increased with an increase of this host's clade rank, and the mean clade rank of hosts recorded on a given flea increased with an increase of this flea's clade rank, suggesting that Szidat's rule, at least to some extent, holds for fleas.