Screw-worm fly research

Screw-worm fly research

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Credit: PHILIPPE PSAILA/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Screw-worm fly research. Workers at a breeding program used to study and help control the parasitic screw-worm fly (Cochliomyia hominivorax). Here they are collecting the pupae after they have been sterilised through irradiation. The adult flies lay their eggs in the open wounds of warm-blooded animals, including humans. The larvae (maggots) then use their sharp mandibles to dig into and eat away the living tissue. This can severely damage or even kill the host. After 3-7 days, the larvae fall to the ground to pupate. Photographed in the factory of the Mexico-American Commission for the Eradication of Gusano Barrenador (screw worm fly), Tuxtla-Gutierrez, Mexico.

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