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Medical Professionals Are Perplexed Over The Massive Bug Bite Injury That A Chandler Man Sustained At His Home

Medical Professionals Are Perplexed Over The Massive Bug Bite Injury That A Chandler Man Sustained At His Home

Residents of Arizona are surrounded by arthropods that can inflict dangerous bites or stings. The amount of arthropod species in Arizona that are capable of sending humans to the hospital are too numerous to be named here, but some species include harvester ants, striped-bark scorpions, western black widows, Africanized honey bees, yellow jackets and three recluse spider species have been documented in the state. These recluse spider species include the desert recluse, the Arizona recluse and the Apache recluse, but these spiders, while venomous, maintain a habitat only in wild areas that are not populated by humans. The highly venomous harvester ant species is also not often found within residential yards, but evenommations have occurred in response to humans stepping on their nesting mounds while hiking.

The most medically significant arthropods in Arizona include airborne insects, namely mosquitoes, but stinging airborne insects are particularly dangerous, as they attack in swarms that see victims sustain numerous stings. Nearly all wild honey bees in Arizona have become “Africananized” through interbreeding, and multiple yellow jacket species often swarm residential areas during the fall. This makes bees and yellow jackets the deadliest of all arthropods in Arizona. However, not long ago an Arizona man sustained either a bite or sting from an arthropod that caused a massive injury unlike anything doctors had ever seen, and to this day, the identity of the species that bit the man remains a mystery.

Back in July of 2017, a resident of Chandler, Thomas Jay, had been taking out his garbage when he felt a sudden “pinch” on his arm. Jay immediately brushed the bug off his arm in response to the sudden pain, but unfortunately, he did not get a good look at the arthropod specimen. The injury inflicted by the bug started as a small red circle, but within hours several large purple bruises appeared on his arm. Jay visited two urgent care facilities, but doctors were baffled over the symptoms, and were not able to diagnose his condition, as his left arm looked as though it had been repeatedly run over by a truck. All medical professionals were unable to provide even an educated guess as to which arthropod species may have inflicted the bite, but Jay’s wife believes that a specimen from the Solifugae order of arachnids inflicted the bite. In Arizona, these arachnids are commonly encountered in and around homes, and they can be intimidating due to their large size and appearance, which resembles a cross between a spider and a scorpion. These arachnids are frequently referred to as “camel spiders,” and while they do possess pinching mouthparts, they do not carry venom, and they rarely inflict bites to humans.

Since the specimen was found on trash, do you believe that Jay was bitten by a camel spider that may have transmitted bacteria into his arm that caused the bruising?

Why Scientists Want To Preserve Fireflies

Why Scientists Want To Preserve Fireflies

Fireflies may be the most beloved of all insects. As children, the sight of fireflies glowing on and off in the distance was nothing short of fascinating. For many adults, fireflies not only conjure up pleasant memories from childhood, but their glowing bodies indicate that summer has officially arrived. Fireflies are immediately recognizable, and many children never tire of attempting to capture the bugs in mason jars, but how much do people really know about fireflies? As it turns out, fireflies are more than just an interesting group of insects, as firefly activity can indicate the relative health of a particular ecosystem. Unfortunately, this means that, much like other insect species today, firefly populations are decreasing due to environmental hazards. In response to this loss in firefly life, experts formed the Firefly Watch project at the Museum of Science in Boston. This project aims to preserve and track firefly populations in America.

The Firefly Watch project recruits thousands of citizen scientists from all fifty states and several Canadian provinces in order to track trends in firefly populations around North America. Starting just a couple of months ago, the Firefly Watch program was taken over by Mass Audubon. This organization is working closely with Tufts University in order to continue the research started by the Firefly Watch program. Mass Audubon is still looking for more citizen scientists; anybody can sign up for the project by visiting the Museum of Science in Boston website.

Researchers also want to preserve fireflies due to their value in the field of medicine. Fireflies are helping researchers to understand how diseases such as cancer and muscular dystrophy attack human cells. Fireflies have also been used to detect food spoilage and bacterial contamination. Perhaps most surprising is the fact that fireflies are even used by NASA officials when developing instruments that are designed to detect life beyond our own planet.

Have you ever attempted to catch fireflies as an adult? Did the fireflies that you captured as a child live longer than a single day in captivity?