Saturday, 6 November 2010

A nasty little insect

This is the Triatoma nigromaculata, a kind of chipo. It lives mostly in Venezuela but you find some in other places in South America. It is at home in tropical areas between 300 and 1700 m above sea level, which means almost everywhere in Venezuela but high mountains, islands and very coastal regions.

If you have enough contact with nature in Venezuela you become very aware of it and try to be cautious. It is one of the vectors of the Chagas disease. This creature, like other triatoma, feed on blood and then defecate in the wound. When people or animals scratch, they spread the little nasty trypanosoma cruzi and with that the disease.

Like other species of the Triatoma sub family, it hides in crevices and little corners of houses. It can camouflage by putting some pieces of dust or rubbish on its top (like: "I'm dust, I'm dust, I do no harm"). People have to fumigate (which causes health problems) and/or keep whole areas clear from too many insects/vegetation.

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