WARNING: You might not want to click on the videos below - they are just a tad icky (and that is the biggest understatement of the year!)
My last Macro Monday post was a bit of a challenge - you had to identify a disgusting looking specimen that one of my colleagues at work had found. Now this beast is not one of the ugly ducklings of this world, destined to metamorphose into a beautiful creature that we can all love and admire. Nope, this animal is repugnant as a larva and not-so-nice as an adult. However, the adult is still a vast improvement over the immature.
So, today, we are talking botflies. I am pretty sure that this monstrosity is one of the best arguments against the existence of god or, if there is a god, against him being a benign, loving and forgiving sort. For the botfly really is disgusting. As an adult, it is a large, hairy fly whose sole mission in life is to reproduce. It has no functioning mouthparts, does not eat and only lives for a few days. Once mated, its goal is to find a host for its impending offspring. There are a couple of ways that it can do this. Some species lay their eggs directly on their intended victims or close by to where the victim will be. The eggs are stimulated to hatch by the warm bodies and the carbon dioxide breathed out by the soon-to-be incubators. Other botflies are even more cunning. Since they are large flies, if they land directly on their targets, they will often be felt and brushed aside. So, instead of depositing the eggs directly on the host, they actually catch a smaller fly. They grasp this fly with their legs and attach their eggs onto the fly's abdomen. When this fly lands on a likely candidate, it is less likely to be noticed and, once again, warmth and carbon dioxide cause the eggs to hatch. Pretty cunning, uh?
|Adult botfly, photo is from here.|
|Young botfly maggot, photo is from here. As you can see, the young larvae are soft and yellow, with lots of spines.|
|Mature botfly maggot|
So, there you have it. If the above has not disgusted you quite enough, then have a look at these videos. The second one was very "kindly" sent to me from Katherine, over at The Last Visible Dog. Thank you Katherine, that was so sweet of you - NOT!
What kind of god could come up with these things? I mean, really!?! Oh, and don't forget - DON'T watch these videos if you have a weak stomach. If you do and you still want to watch them, go and get a bucket first, just in case.
Are you still here? Crikey! Perhaps you didn't watch the videos. Anyway, I thought that I should point out that my specimen, found here in Beautiful British Columbia, belongs to the genus Cuterebra and is a parasite of mainly rodents such as squirrels and rabbits. The main place for human botflies is Central America and some of South America, so you can sleep tight tonight, unless you live there or have recently been there ............. oh crap......... I would have noticed one by now, wouldn't I?