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Assorted Mollusks and Ecinoderms

The shells and remains of assorted mollusks (phylum Mollusca) and echinoderms (phylum Echinodermata). Can you also spot examples of two additional phyla: Phylum Cnidaria (class Anthozoa) and phylum Chordata (class Chondrichthyes)? Shadow box collection prepared by Elaine M. Armstrong.

Lions & Cheetahs at the San Diego Wild Animal Park

Lions at the San Diego Wild Animal Park

Cheetahs at the San Diego Wild Animal Park

A Human Bot Fly That Emerged From A Human

Larva of a human bot fly that emerged from an opening in the skin.
[Photograph by Christopher S. Boykin. Adult fly courtesy of USDA.]

See Large Bot Bly That Parasitizes Rodents & Rabbits

The human bot fly (Dermatobia hominis) belongs to the insect order Diptera, family Cuterebridae. The adult is a stout-bodied, hairy fly native to Central and South America. In fact, the above larval hitchhiker was "picked up" in Costa Rica. The egg-laden adult female fly temporarily captures a mosquito and attaches her eggs to its body. This encounter presumably occurs during the hours of dusk or later. When the mosquito lands on the warm body of a human for its blood meal, the bot fly eggs hatch and one or more pear-shaped larvae (maggots) fall to the skin surface. The larva bores into the skin and leaves a small "breathing pore."

When it has penetrated the epidermal and dermal layers of the skin, it is firmly held in place by anal hooks and rows of barbs on its body (see image to the left). It takes about five to ten weeks for the larva to complete its development. During this time it feeds on blood tissue within its subcutaneous burrow.
When mature, it emerges from the breathing pore and drops to the ground where it pupates and gradually transforms into a winged adult through metamorphosis. The adult has nonfunctional mouthparts and does not feed. Its primary purpose is to mate and perpetuate the species by capturing another mosquito. Insects truly have some of the most complex and remarkable life cycles of all the creatures on earth.

Other Remarkable Insect Life Cycles:

The Fig & Its Symbiotic Wasp
More Links About Fig Wasps
The Yucca & Its Symbiotic Moth
The Acacia Tree & Its Symbiotic Ant
The Mexican Jumping Bean & Its Moth

A Bird Louse Collected By Mr. Wolffia

Broad-headed bird louse (Menacanthus sp.).

Chewing lice belong to the insect order Mallophaga. The louse shown above lives on the skin of domestic fowl and game birds. Chewing lice typically gnaw on fragments of feathers, hair and skin with a pair of mandibles. Each leg is tipped with a sharp claw which can be very irritating to the host animal. The head is much broader than human lice, and they are often called broad-headed bird lice. Sucking lice (order Anoplura) have a set of long hypodermic-like stylets to pierce the skin and withdraw blood of mammals. They include the head lice, body lice and crab lice of humans.

  Using Lice DNA To Date The First Clothing Worn By People  
See Human Headlouse: Order Anoplura (Pediculus humanas)

A Tick Embedded In Mr. Wolffia's Abdomen

Pacific coast tick (Dermacentor occidentalis).

The head and mouthparts of this tick are embedded in Mr. Wolffia's abdomen. Coating the tick's body with oil did not encourage it to let go! It had to be carefully pulled out with forceps placed close to the head. See the following two close-up images.

Pacific coast tick (Dermacentor occidentalis).

The head and mouthparts of this tick are still embedded in a chunk of Mr. Wolffia's skin. It had to be carefully pulled out with forceps placed close to the head.

Pacific coast tick (Dermacentor occidentalis).

Bighorn sheep tick (Dermacentor hunteri). Photographed in Fossil Canyon north of Ocotillo, Imperial County, California by Vince Balch.

Male deer tick of the genus Ixodes removed from Mr. Wolffia in Monterey County (May 2006). Two views are shown: Dorsal (left) and ventral or underside (right). This tick is smaller than the Pacific coast tick shown in the previous image. Deer ticks are known to cary the spirochaete that causes Lyme disease.

Another view of a male deer tick (Ixodes) removed from Mr. Wolffia. There are more than 200 species in the genus Ixodes, but this may be the deer tick or western black-legged tick (X. pacificus).

  See Wayne's Word Page About Mites  

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