estúpido. En el camino hacia la parada de taxis recibí una notificación
de Facebook. Eran las once menos cuarto de la noche y hacia un frío de
cojones. Iba camino a una cita. Vistazo rápido, se trataba de una
petición de amistad. ¿Cómo podías ser tan patético? No lo dudé ni un
segundo y me carcajeé bloqueándote al instante.
Me regodeé en las veces que te había gritado en la cara que acabarías
solo. Era el momento, sonreí ante la idea de que te sintieses por fin
sólo y como la escoria inservible que eras. Recordé por un instante los
improperios lanzados por tu boca junto a la saliva con olor a JB que
salpicaba de ella cuando llegabas borracho a casa.
La noche en
la que finalmente tras veinticinco años me llevaste al límite estuve al
borde del asesinato. Sólo podía pensar en los cuchillos de la cocina y
en tu traquea siendo rasgada por el de cortar jamón, una y otra vez, una
y otra vez. Pero no hice nada, sólo quedarme sentada en la cama
mientras golpeabas mi puerta, la cómoda y asegurabas que yo sólo servía
para follar, que era basura, que no servía para nada y mil despropósitos
más que ya había oído en cada borrachera. Aquella última noche me
dejaste hecha una masa convulsa de balbuceos y llanto. No te había
matado pero comencé el luto.
¿Recuerdas como en el entierro de tu madre apenas derramaste una lágrima? Yo ni siquiera iré al tuyo, papá.
For years scientists estimated that 10-20% of the population had some kind of mites living on their faces. A new study published in the PLOS 1 has now found that two mite species – Demodex folluculorum and Demodex brevis – are living in the pores of 100% of the population. Yes: this means that you have a spider and tick relative living its entire lifecycle on your face. Learn more
Cyphochilus is a genus of beetle with an unusually bright white body, occurring in Southeast Asia. The whiteness of its body is caused by a thin layer of a highly reflective natural photonic solid in its scales and has nothing to do with pigment. The secret is in the size of the filaments of which the scales are made and the spacing between the filaments. This structure scatters light in an unusually efficient manner. Unlike colours, which can be created by using highly ordered structures to scatter light, white is created by a random, simultaneous scattering of light.
It is believed that the beetle’s whiteness has evolved to mimic local white fungi as a form of camouflage while it feeds on sugar cane but science’s recent interest in this genus of beetles centres around how the secret of its colour can benefit humans. In the future, the paper we write on, the colour of our teeth and even the efficiency of the rapidly emerging new generation of white light sources like LEDs will be significantly improved if technology can take and apply the design ideas we learn from these beetles.
This individual is also host to an entourage of orange immature mites. (Newly hatched larval stages of mites are six-legged. Later nymphal stages, and of course the adults, have eight legs.)
Know someone who suffers from rosacea? The “Curse of the Celts”? Between 5 and 20 percent of humans are affected with this inflammatory skin condition.
Are you eating? Hope not. Turns out it may be caused by an immune reaction to the feces of skin mites.
Microscopic Demodex mites live on our skin, deep in our pores, and are more numerous in those who suffer from rosacea. After mating, they die in your pores. Since they have no anus, their mite poo just sits there, full of a certain bacteria that is thought to trigger the immune reaction causing rosacea.
Read more about the research at New Scientist. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go wash my face.
SICKadellidae: Or Rather, A Cicadellid with Parasites
Everything has parasites, probably even you.
When reviewing my pictures of insects I often notice hangers-on that would never have been seen unless I had an real-up-close look. I found this tartessine cicadellid this morning - it is likely Stenocotis depressa, a widespread and variable Australian species - on the way to work. Cicadellids are a type of bug often called leafhoppers. It was under the bark of a Eucalyptus planted in a park; one piece of bark (5cm long) examined and one creature found, or so I thought. I never noticed its ‘riders’ until I later reviewed the pictures on the computer. In the first image you can see the leg on the left has a red blob attached to it. Similarly, in the second and third images there are more or these red blobs mostly attached to appendages underneath the body. Altogether there are eight.
Back to the camera and the result is the fourth image. This time the nature of the blob is clear - it is a tiny little mite (0.2 mm) attached with its mouth parts to the front leg (protibia) if the cicadellid. Many invertebrates carry a similar load - mites of many types are common ectoparasites (external parasites) of insects and other arthropods like spiders and harvestmen. In this case I’m not sure of the identity of the mite - if you know it, please tell!
My best guess is that it is likely to be the larva of one of the velvet mites or their relatives (Trombidioidea). These mites have a complex life-cycle with larval stages parasitising arthropod hosts and sucking their haemolymph (bug blood), sometimes quite host-specifically, and then growing up to become voracious, and stunning, free-living predators of small arthropods. Nice, but that’s a tiny little insight into life, right? Now go find out what is parasitising you.
One of the Many Little Things with even Littler Things riding on it!