Nica Richards
Deputy online news editor
2 minute read
22 Jun 2020
6:18 am

Forming an unnatural bond on my journey with botflies

Nica Richards

Convincing people that there are parasitic worms in your head is no easy feat.

Botfly. Picture: iStock

On the banks of the Madre de Dios river in the Peruvian Amazon’s Manu National Park, I learnt firsthand the power that parasites yield. While conducting field research for a project studying different trees in diverse forest types, we ventured deep into untouched jungle, carving paths with our machetes. Very few humans had been where we were, but lurking in the uncertain forest flew mosquitos infected with one of nature’s more stomach-churning parasites: the botfly. Females from the most common human botfly species, Dermatobia hominis, lay eggs on blood-sucking arthropods, such as mosquitos or ticks. Eggs are laid in warm-blooded...