Hope That Your Body Never Becomes Infested With Botfly Larvae
An associate professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology once visited his doctor about a sharp pain that he had experienced in his ankle. The associate professor assumed that a thorn had become embedded within his skin. However, an X-ray revealed nothing. So the doctor recommended squeezing his ankle in order to push out whatever was beneath the associate professor’s skin. The associate professor had just returned from a research expedition located in the jungles of Panama. If the researcher had considered this recent trip, then maybe he would have learned sooner that he had botfly larvae infesting his ankle.
Botfly larvae, also referred to as Dermatobia hominis, are right at home beneath a person, or animal’s, skin. Botflies are parasitic insects that will remain under a person’s skin for weeks, or even months, while causing sharp unbearable pains with their fangs. This fly larvae will chew through your flesh. The bulbous front end of the larvae is decorated with sharp spines. These spines keep the larvae anchored underneath a person’s skin. The larvae will breath through its backside, which it does by keeping their backsides slightly exposed over the surface of their host’s skin. This is how some experts can quickly recognize botfly larvae beneath skin.
Botfly larvae normally finds its way into people’s skin by hitching rides on mosquitoes. A fly will crash into a mosquito mid-flight in order to place eggs onto the mosquitoes underside. Once the mosquito find a person to suck blood from, the eggs will become dislodged and stick to a person’s skin. Once the person’s body heat rises, the botfly eggs hatch, and the larvae promptly find shelter underneath the surface of some poor soul’s skin. A number of methods are used to extract botfly larvae from people’s skin. The larvae can also be suffocated by using petroleum jelly in order to cover the small breathing hole that they create on the surface of their host’s skin. Most of the time, the larvae simply die, and fall out of a victim’s body after they are suffocated in this manner.
Have you ever found insect larvae under your skin after visiting a tropical region? If you knew you had botfly larvae beneath your skin, would you want it forcibly removed by a doctor immediately? Or would you try to kill it yourself?