I wish today’s creature and the title was a bad joke.
Unfortunately this is no joke- The Human Botfly (Dermatobia hominis) slaps eggs onto a mosquito, when that mosquito bites you, those eggs are implanted under your skin. Over the next 5-12 weeks, a maggot grows under your skin causing painful leaking pustules until it crawls out of your skin and into the next stage of development as a pupae. Sickening.
This fly is a part of a family known as Oestridae or Botflies, the larvae of all Botfly species parasitize mammals. Honestly, one of these flies is too many – but to know there are approximately 150 species of Botfly is frankly terrifying. They are found world-wide but the Human Botfly is primarily in the regions found below.
Icing on the horror cake shown below – the maggots have backwards facing spikes, designed to make them difficult and painful to remove.
Should you be so unlucky to need it, the most commonly used method of removal is to apply petroleum jelly, glue or nail polish to cover the hole preventing the literal pus-eating worm from breathing. Showing that vaseline can cure everything from ashy hands to hell-spawn growing under your skin.
This bite can occur anywhere a mosquito can bite you, so if it is in a sensitive or hard to reach area then please seek a medical professional to apply iodine and remove the fly via tweezer. Be careful if you are removing one yourself, rupturing certain Botfly species can induce anaphalactic shock.
Despite knowing that these flies are not widespread in my region, every time a mosquito bites me, a tiny voice wonders, “Is today the day that I wind up with maggots under my skin?” Now, a small bit of that terror will go with you 😉.