creatures

Tsetse Fly

Tsetse Fly

April 17th – Of all the terrifying creatures in Africa, few are as frightening as the little tsetse fly. (Tsetse means “fly” in Setswana – so a tsetse fly is a fly… fly.) To begin with, the bite of this bumblebee-sized insect really hurts! But far more ominously, tsetse carry the dreaded Trypanosoma brucei parasite …

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House Fly

House Fly

April 8th – The common house fly flaps its wings about 200 times a second, creating one of the world’s least sonorous sounds! But fortunately, their buzz is worse than their bite. With only spongy mouthparts and no stinger, the house fly can’t prick you (though it’s country-cousin, the stable fly, looks similar and can …

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Tardigrades

Tardigrades

March 27th – One of the more fascinating organisms in the microsphere is the common tardigrade – technically speaking, “slow walker.” However, it is not the tardigrade’s sluggish speed that captures the attention, but rather the fact that as this miniscule creature lumbers along on its eight tiny legs, it bears an uncanny resemblance to, …

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scabies

Scabies

March 1st – Long before Napoleon met his Waterloo, his personal territory had been invaded and conquered by the Sarcoptes scabiei mite, a tiny, eight-legged cousin of the spider that causes scabies, or Sarcoptic mange. Though scabies victims are not commonly subject to megalomania, they do tend to scratch or bite at themselves, causing hair …

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Maggots

Maggots

Feb 27th – Although maggots’ reputation is primarily derived from their tendency to feed on refuse and fecal matter, it is their taste for decomposing flesh that has earned them genuine approbation. Since ancient times, maggots have helped save lives by efficiently and effectively cleaning wounds, including ones that might otherwise have been fatal. By …

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Copepods

Copepods

Feb 10th – Copepods are tiny aquatic crustaceans. There are about 15,000 species of copepods, and they may be the most abundant multicellular animals on the planet – even more numerous than insects! Their name means “paddle foot” and they are generally smaller than a grain of rice. A type of zooplankton (or “animal drifter”), …

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Fleas

Fleas

Feb 7th – The flea’s diminutive size has made it a global symbol of insignificance. But as carriers of typhus and tapeworms – not to mention bubonic plague – fleas will not be ignored. One of the original subjects of microscopic examination (early microscopes were called “flea glasses”), fleas can now boast of nearly 3,000 …

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