Wednesday, July 18, 2007
For quite a while my youngest daughter wanted to be an entomologist, a "bug scientist" as she put it. I thought it was a great idea; I've always been fascinated with bugs since getting my first Golden Guide to insects as a kid. More recently I've had the pleasure to have some contact with forensic entomologists.
If you were an entomologist, you might study the bot fly. Why would you want to study the bot fly? I'll tell you.
Because their larvae occasionally burrow into people's heads and grow inside there.
Seriously. Just ask Carbondale, Colorado resident Aaron Dallas. He recently returned from a trip to Belize and discovered some strange little bleeding bumps on his scalp. A doctor found five active bot fly larvae living beneath the skin atop Dallas' head. The doc plucked 'em out and Mr. Dallas is doing fine!
Yes, the bot fly is a pretty interesting little critter. Did you know sometimes they can even lay their eggs on a human eyeball? And that there are pictures of the larva being removed from a kid's eyeball that you can see on the Interwebs? Yes indeed.
If a bot fly larva burrows into your skin, and you're a prepared outdoor sportsman, you can use a venom extractor (like the one in the snake bite kit you should have) to suck out the little digging bastard.
There are lots of other amazing insects that you could study as an entomologist. The Armed Forces Pest Management Board publishes a handy guide:
Field Guide to Venomous and Medically Important Invertebrates Affecting Military Operations: Identification, Biology, Symptoms, Treatment
Go ahead. Take a look. You know you want to.