Weekend botfly blogging?

I swear this really wasn’t my intention, but I dunno–I’m a bit obsessed with these critters. I mentioned them here just last weekend. Yesterday, Josh over at Thoughts from Kansas blogged more about botflies, linking a video that had been passed around the Panda’s Thumb email list (and that even grossed out “Parasite Rex” author Carl Zimmer). Josh also has a bit of background on the flies and, well, more nasty stories to boot.


  1. #1 B. Spitzer
    March 19, 2006

    As horrifying as botflies are, they’re really one of the best parasites to get. You get to disgust your friends, amaze your doctor, tell great stories about it later, and there are no lasting effects.

    There’s a sort of macho, cowboy ethic among tropical biologists; they treasure their disgusting parasite experiences the way that a war veteran treasures his medals. The really cool kids are the ones who let the critters grow until they come out on their own to pupate. I once worked for a guy who did that. He let the thing grow to maturity in his cheek.

    (Yes, his cheek. If you think that’s gross, you should have been there when he tried the “meat cure”, where you seal a piece of meat over the bot and the larva supposedly crawls out into the meat. Suffice it to say that this guy was wandering around in tropical heat for three days with a piece of bacon taped to his face.)

  2. #2 Ocellated
    March 22, 2006

    Manual trackback. For some reason, trackbacks just don’t work me on Moveable Type blogs.

    What’s That Mosquito Bite Growing On My Leg?

  3. #3 Nick
    March 23, 2006

    The squirrels in our backyard (central NC) sport large botfly warbles every summer. A couple of years ago, I had the opportunity to examine some up close, after I shot a squirrel that kept chewing on the siding of our house. The squirming larvae were clearly visible through the opening of the warbles. It was definitely the most disgusting thing I have ever seen.

    I thought about digging one out and preserving it, but they were so horrible, I just couldn’t do it. Some things really are living nightmares.