Entomology, chemical ecology, evidence-based environmentalism and science in general. I like big bugs and I cannot lie.

Wednesday 31 October 2012

This Halloween, meet the vampire maggot!

Happy Halloween!  Say hello to the blood-sucking larva of Auchmeromyia senegalensis.

Image pinched from Bogleech's brilliant "Top Twenty Coolest Flies"
 This little chap lives in Subsaharan Africa, in dirt floors and bedlinen, and crawls out at night to suck sleepers' blood.  Unlike fictional vampires he doesn't sparkle, but like certain fictional vampires he's not especially bright and is utterly defeated if sleepers are raised off the group on beds (he evolved to feed on burrowing mammals).  Although he seems like a fairly uncharismatic creature, research into other bloodsuckers like leeches has already yielded a natural anticoagulant so who knows what tricks this under-researched vampire may be using to get his dinner?

Sleep tight.