Tuesday, January 19, 2016
Booklice and giants
I read in the Guardian this morning that entomologists studying “clean and normal” homes in Raleigh, North Carolina found more than 100 species living there and this was without opening drawers or ripping carpets up. Their list included spiders (that do and don't make webs), lice, centipedes, flies, beetles, ants, telephone pole beetles, miniature crickets and booklice.
Booklice. I had to look that one up. The image of books infested with their own special variety of lice is disturbing. And yes — according to the Wikipedia article — books do have lice. But books, or more specifically the paste holding books together, is a newly acquired taste for booklice. These guys have been around for 295–248 million years. But if you're a reader, don't worry. The article is quite clear that booklice don't eat humans, even if your book is an ebook.
Researchers also observed creatures never before seen in the wild including the world's smallest wasp. Of course, findings would vary probably in other locations. Maybe here in Nevada we have microscopic desert lizards on our walls.
The idea of our homes being teeming microcosms doesn't bother or surprise me. After all, there's more than the eye can see and we humans used to live in caves and, before that, trees so no big deal. Now we live in a microscopic jungle. That means we get to be the giants.