Pubic Lice and Happiness

My readers will be disturbed to learn that modern civilization, in its gluttonous consumerism, is intruding upon the natural habitat of yet another species of animal, endangering to the point of extinction.

I am referring, of course, to the noble Pthirus Pubis, more commonly known as “pubic lice” or (less accurately) “crabs.”

Pictured: The noble Pthirus Pubis. I was going to post a shot of some specimens in their natural habitat, but I’m afraid I got grossed-out looking at them.

Yes, it would seem that modernity, what with its Brazilian waxes and so forth, is pushing this species to the cusp of extinction. And while this is undoubtedly tragic, I must admit that, when reading the story, a different thought occurred to me.

Namely, I was suddenly overwhelmed by just how amazing it was that there is an entire species of insect which is specifically adapted to live in Human pubic hair! Just stop to think about that, for a few minutes; isn’t that incredible? I mean, how many species are their in the entire world? How many niches must their be? And yet nature has managed to produce an ectoparasite to fill this, surely the most specialized of roles in the animal kingdom! Isn’t evolution cool?

You may find it odd that I am finding beauty in a blood-sucking, parasitical STI, but the truth is that the entire world is delightful if you just put aside your judgements for a few moments. I have learned that, considering everything from a purely factual perspective (without relating any of this information to myself or how it affects me), I can find beauty in practically anything. Indeed, I suddenly remember, it’s the reason why I became a scientist in the first place.

Good lord, but Life suddenly looks beautiful now that I’m done writing my thesis.

EDIT: You will be relieved to learn that pubic lice are apparently not going extinct after all.

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About thevenerablecorvex

I have the heart of a poet, the brain of a theoretical physicist, and the wingspan of an albatross. I am also notable for my humility.
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2 Responses to Pubic Lice and Happiness

  1. Pingback: Sunday Link Encyclopedia and Self-Promotion | Clarissa's Blog

  2. Lindsay says:

    It is cool! Doesn’t strike me as an especially tiny, specific niche, though. If you take a parasitology class (which I recommend doing, if you’re not squeamish — the subject matter is FASCINATING), you learn about all sorts of parasites that can only reach sexual maturity and reproduce in very specific physiological environments. You also find parasites that are adapted to a progression of hosts, and that have developed ways of changing their intermediate hosts’ behavior to make them more likely to be eaten by the host the parasite ultimately wants to end up in.

    Time to quote Jonathan Swift:
    So nat’ralists observe, a flea
    Hath smaller fleas that on him prey;
    And these have smaller fleas to bite ’em.
    And so proceeds ad infinitum.

    That verse is one of my favorites for its rhyming of “bite ’em” with “infinitum.” 🙂

    I also felt a twinge of skepticism when you first said they were going extinct due to changes in grooming practices Down There; in my experience, extensive hair removal is hardly universal. I’d lay money that a lot more people don’t remove that hair than do. Especially among the non-WEIRD* demographic.

    *Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich Democracies.

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