Why Rainforest Biologists are hardcore!


Rainforest Biologist Are Hardcore. Don’t believe us? Watch this!

Rossana Maguiña, Pollination Biologist shares one of her favorite fieldwork stories!

This story takes place in the rainforest of Peru. She had been there a week when she found a small pimple on her head. As the days went on, that little bump began to feel as if someone was stabbing her with a needle repeatedly. After three weeks, while washing her hair, she realized it was growing and was now much larger.

That day Rossana talked to her colleagues and the park ranger, asking them to look at this.

Most of the people in the park were biology students, and naturally curious about this mysterious growing pimple on her head. When the park ranger comes to look, he had some surprising news–it’s not a pimple… it’s a fly larva in her head!

It was swollen, stinging and she wanted it removed, which they have a special at-home process for. People smoke cigarettes, or something called “mapacho,” then extract the chemicals into a brown dough-type substance. They place the dough on the wound to cover the hole and when it dries it somehow drowns the larva. Then they “pop” it and out comes the larva!

So they decided to try this on her head. How did it go? Well, it didn’t come out and they decided to just leave it and let it die and let swelling go down.

The next night they tried again. But before they tried extracting the larva, they pulled some hair out of her head to see the wound better. According to Rossana, that was actually the most painful part! Then they tried again to apply pressure to push the larva out.

It still didn’t work.

Finally, she decided to call her uncle, a doctor. After learning that the larva has been in her head for about 3 weeks, he told her to get to the hospital as soon as possible to have it extracted!

Once at the hospital, the doctor took the scalpel and cut the wound open–there was a lot of blood. But he took some tweezers, found the larva, and began to try and remove it. As he began to pull, the larva had been dead for about 3 days and broke apart still inside her head.

They had to keep cleaning the wound and digging around inside to find all the pieces. Finally, the larva had been removed and they stitched her up.

They were able to record and document her whole process. Check out the video above if you are brave enough!

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