|Natural History Museum|
It's a very interesting, albeit disgusting read about a species of fly that shoots it's larvae into the nostrils of reindeer which then burrow into the sinuses and throat. Once grown they work their way back up to be coughed or sneezed out. Makes you wonder why there isn't already a Christmas song about reindeer and snot bots doesn't it?
It doesn't seem that they do any harm to their hosts, but I can't imagine...actually worse, I can imagine coughing up phlegm full of maggots. Or on the other side having been sneezed on by a horse or two, which is utterly gross without maggots, I can well imagine what it would be like to get a face full of infested reindeer snot. This is all more terrifying than any holiday horror film.
Just because this particular snot bot likes reindeer, doesn't mean that they always get the right species. Wired's article mentions a woman that received an eyeful of ejected larvae and if you click on the links there's one about some kids that were infested after visiting reindeer herding areas. That sounds like Halmark holiday gold, go for the reindeer, stay for the maggot infestation.
The Natural History Museum of London has a nice video hypothesizing that maybe Rudolph's nose is red due to bot flies. The process is explained by Erica Mcalister, accompanied by some lovely pictures. Some of them are actually lovely, the bot fly looks like a cute fuzzy little bee. It was an interview with Erica on Science Friday that first turned me on to the reindeer snot bot. There was such joy and adoration in her voice as she discussed that and many other disgusting but fascinating things that flies do to enable their survival. It was quite infectious listening to her. I may have to put her book The Secret Life of Flies on my Christmas list.
Now if you hear the pawing and prancing of each little hoof, you'll also wonder if Donner and Blitzen are depositing some writhing maggot phlegm up on your rooftop as well.
My first thought after reading about the Iceworm was that it would make a great X-Files episode. Maybe because almost 30 years ago I saw that X-Files episode. Geez I'm old.
Know what else lives in the ice? "The Thing". I wonder if it's jealous it doesn't get it's own festival, although there is a movie marathon tradition that happens at the Sole Pole every year.
source: Australian Museum