Being Bitten

I have been keeping track of what general types of creatures by which I have been bitten (or the equivalent for those without biting mouthparts) since coming to California in June 2013! I like being bitten, you see; it is interesting, often a new experience for each new set of mouthparts (no masochism is involved). Here is the current list, which I will keep updating as it grows (last updated 22 February 2019):

Jerusalem cricket
chicken
various ants
cat
snail
goose
goat
cockroach
pillbug
house fly (and various other harmless flies, probably, which would be too much trouble to count individually)
lacewing (larva)
mantis
bedbug
squirrel
mosquito
sea star
rabbit
earwig
shield bug
millipede
thrips
yellow jacket wasp
aquatic leech
silverfish
scrub-jay
lady beetle
treehopper
sea anemone
sea urchin
horse
guppy
webspinner
solifugid
snakefly (adult and larva)
fishfly (larva and adult)
dragonfly
sawfly
longhorn beetle
ground beetle
backswimmer
snipe fly
horse fly
leafhopper
boa
parrot
duckling
bark-gnawing beetle
harvestman
giant water bug

While in Indonesia in June-August 2015:
mosquito
cricket
dragonfly
gecko
trapjaw ant (fastest movement in known biology)
weaver ant
longhorn beetle
tiger beetle
mantis
anemonefish
various harmless flies

In Peru in December-January 2016-2017:
human
cockroach
dog
grasshopper
black fly
mosquito
macaw
katydid (one predatory and STRONG, others herbivorous)
weevil
cicada
leafhopper
stingless bees (licking for sweat only)
paper wasp
sand fly
bess beetle
chigger mite
tick
black ants
various flies (of course)

At the Mexico City airport:
doctor fish

Total (distinct): 68

I have been stung by:
bee (non-apidae)
velvet ant
backswimmer
trap-jaw ant
bullet ant
stinging nettle
giant water bug
(previously: carpenter/bumble bee, yellow jacket, fire ants)

In Taiwan in January 2019, I got punched in the glove by a mantis shrimp.

Posted by eccentric_entomophile eccentric_entomophile, February 05, 2014 04:19

Comments

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That's quite a list! I'm curious to hear more about what it's like to be bitten by the following: snail, sea star, thrips, sea anemone, and sea urchins, and stung by a velvet ant (yikes!). Do tell!

Posted by carrieseltzer almost 4 years ago (Flag)
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I will sate your curiosity! Keep in mind that my definition of "bite" for the purposes of this list includes much more than simply being grasped by chewing mouthparts. Basically any mouthparts will do! And it matters not whether the animal is wild or captive.

Snail: When I allowed large snails from my aunt's backyard to crawl onto my bare hand, they would unceasingly scrape their radula across whatever surface they happened to be on, including my skin; I could feel it! Completely harmless, unless a snail decides to stay in one place while scraping for a while, and I let it do so for long enough for it to eventually draw blood (it takes a really long while, on thin skin). This was one of my inspirations for the list.

Sea star: The California Academy of Sciences has an echinoderm petting zoo in the aquarium area. Visitors are not allowed to actually pick up the animals, but it was okay for me to veeeery slowly slide my fingers underneath a sea star. I spent maybe 20-25 minutes doing this (in cold water!), eventually getting my fingers to the center with its tube feet attached to my skin. I could move my fingers and feel squishiness. When I tried to retract my fingers, I found that they were stuck to some sort of sticky bag thing; when I succeeded in pulling myself off of it, there was a slight burning sensation at my fingertips. It seems the sea star everted its stomach onto me! That totally counts, right?

Thrips: They have piercing-sucking mouthparts, so a thrips can stab just like an assassin bug. One day while sitting in grass, I felt a very slight prick-pain on my arm, and found a thrips sitting there. It felt similar to some other mysterious pricks I had experienced in the past, so my guess is that I had been bitten by them before without knowing it.

Sea anemone: In my introductory biology labs, we often had a bunch of marine organisms in some tanks at the back of the lab for us to observe and play with. There was one big anemone whose nematocysts were completely harmless to humans, only clinging stickily to the skin when touched. So, I stuck my hand right in there, immersing myself in a bunch of tentacles and maybe its mouth-hole. It was tricky to pry the tentacles off, though.

Sea urchin: Same situation as sea anemone in lab. Like with the sea star, I slowly slid my hand under one. I found that a circle of stabby things was rhythmically pushing down on and scratching at my skin (it left a skin depression since I left my hand there for long enough). This was probably the teeth of the urchin's Aristotle's lantern.

Velvet ant: Just last weekend, I went on an insect-collecting trip with the entomology club at my university. At night, as I was peeling off the bark of some chopped logs, I found a golden velvet ant hiding under some bark. I put on my gloves and nudged it onto my gloved hand to bring it to the others and show it off, since it was a cool find. During the showing-off, the velvet ant crawled into a space made by my glove strap and into my glove! I tried to slowly remove the glove, but I suppose that agitated the wasp enough for it to sting my palm. However, I did not notice it at first, only feeling a brief pinprick, until a bit of pain started swelling up. It was not much, really; over the course of a few minutes, the pain spread in a little circle around the site, and went away. The best reaction it got from me was "Oh, huh, seems like there is some pain there. Okay." Nothing excruciating like a typical velvet ant sting; different species, different potencies. I still have a slight bump, but I can only find it by rubbing in the area; I feel nothing noticeable otherwise. (With the large number of pictures in my uploading queue, it will be a long time until you see an observation of this wasp...)

Posted by eccentric_entomop... almost 4 years ago (Flag)
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Awesome, Thanks! Now that you elaborate, I have also definitely been bitten by thrips. I love the echinoderm stories and I'm impressed with your patience! This might be my new favorite iNat journal post :-)

Posted by carrieseltzer almost 4 years ago (Flag)

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