Weird Facts About Sanguivores
Bedbug or Bed Bug?
The is some disagreement about whether "bed bug" or "bedbug" is the correct name for these blood-sucking pests. After speaking to several experts, I can report that it's "bed bug". The reason has to do with the fact that bed bugs actually are real bugs (as are stink bugs and assassin bugs). To indicate this, entomology experts split these names into two words. In cases where the creature in question doesn't belong to the group (e.g., pillbugs, butterflies, fireflies), the name is condensed into one word.
Not tonight dear, I've got a hole in my abdomen
Those suffering from bed bug infestations (and even those who aren't) might be interested to learn that copulation in bed bugs is a rather dangerous affair - especially for the female. That's because the act itself entails a violent exercise known as traumatic insemination. During this process, the male bed bug pierces the female's abdominal wall with his intromittent organ and injects his sperm directly into the wound (i.e., the female's genitalia is not involved in copulation). This strange practice (which thankfully, is limited to a few species of insects) may have evolved as a way to circumvent mating resistance by the female bed bug. Not surprisingly, traumatic insemination has a negative effect on females - increasing the risk of infection at the wound site and reducing lifespan and reproductive output.
Lancing with the Stars
Among the famous (and infamous) who were bled or "leeched" on their last day on earth were such notables as George Washington (who was drained of 80 ounces of blood for a throat infection) and Lord Bryon, who had suffered a series of seizures (possibly related to the fact that he was addicted to drugs, had previously contracted both gonorrhea and malaria, and might also have had an eating disorder). "A damned set of butchers," Byron called his doctors between bouts of delirium and paranoia. Initially he refused their treatments, somehow convinced that they were going to kill him. His condition continued to deteriorate until, in a weakened state, the great man finally came to his senses. The healers acted immediately, withholding water and attaching up to 20 leeches to his fevered brow. The hungry creatures did their job, reportedly draining off two pounds of the pathogen-packed poet's blood. Byron died the following day. He was 36 years old. Finally, mass murdering world-leader Joseph Stalin, was bled, purged from both ends, and injected with camphor, caffeine (and possibly everything else his doctors could find laying around the dacha). This "treatment" was undertaken, some contend, up to 13 hrs after the Soviet tyrant had suffered a cerebral hemorrhage. Luckily for the doctors, Stalin had planned a purge of completely different kind on that very day - convinced as he was that his medical staff was trying to do him in.