Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Ever consider a career in entomology?


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.



13 comments:

jin said...

EEEEEWwwwwwwwwwwww!!!!!!!!!
:-P

lulu said...

Having had a spider lay eggs IN MY LEG as a child, I think I'll skip this. Thanks though.

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

I hate bugs!

Tenacious S said...

Bink just completed a week of "bug camp" at the Chicago Botanic Gardens. On the last day he came home with a box with a bunch of bugs pinned down as specimens. He told me, "Do you know how hard it is to pin down a beetle that is running around in circles?" I looked down in his box again and some of the bugs were indeed still moving. Apparently, the freezing that they had done to prepare the specimens was not quite effective enough. Can I just say, "Ick."

Tenacious S said...

Lu, you mean you're not going to look at the pictures of the larvae being removed from the kid's eye? I'm surprised.

Johnny Yen said...

Must not look. Must not look. Must not look...

justacoolcat said...

I've never seen so many awesome and untapped potential for band names in one place; Assasins and kissing bugs, True Bugs, Velvet Ants, Brittle Fly, and we can't forget Old World screw worm.

Dino aka Katy said...

I read that story about the bug in the guys head the other day and that's just creepy

BeckEye said...

Jin stole my comment.

Well, it bears repeating. All together now...EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!

Beth said...

Now I'm all itchy and twitchy.

Bubs said...

Beth, it's nothing that alcohol can't cure.

Beckeye, Jin...glad you enjoyed it!

Katy, it is creepy. I'm thinking maybe I'll start a new feature--parasitic insect of the week.

Coolcat that is BRILLIANT! Did you know "old world screw worm" was my nickname at the police academy?

Johnny--do it. DO IT NOW!

Ten, I want to hear more about that. SOunds cool!

Dr MVM, I know you're probably more accustomed to eating termites off a stick that you've poked into their mound...

Lulu, I love that story.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I'd be a little worried about your daughter. I know quite a few entomologists and they are far and above the strangest people you will ever know. In a good way of course.

Bubs said...

Barbara, she left that plan behind a couple of years ago. She now wants to be a writer/editor, and also run a junk shop somewhere in the deep south.