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SOS Rhino : In the News : Parasites Lost: Of lice and men and the value of small, disgusting things
 

Parasites Lost: Of lice and men and the value of small, disgusting things

  By Scott LaFee
UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
November 2, 2006

The rhinoceros stomach botfly is a hard bug to love.
In its larval stages, the fly uses mouth hooks and spines to attach itself to the stomach linings of black or white rhinos, appearing some time later in the mammals' dung, from which it quickly buries itself in the ground.

Six weeks later, an adult fly emerges – the largest known fly species in Africa. Adult rhino botflies are more than 11/2 inches in length, have 3-inch wingspans and look like giant wasps with orange-red heads and legs.Despite their appearance, the flies are harmless – to rhinos and humans.
Indeed, rhinos face much bigger problems than the botfly. Habitat loss and overhunting have pushed all five rhinoceros species in the world toward extinction. In some cases, over the brink. In July, the World Conservation Union declared a West African subspecies of the black rhinoceros to be tentatively extinct. No living specimens have been sighted for several years. Other subspecies are hanging on with varying degrees of success.
If the rhinos go, so, too, will the rhinoceros stomach botfly.

READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE HERE.





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