Jerry’s Maggot

August 7, 2009 • 1:23 pm

by Greg Mayer

I haven’t listened to the interview yet, but I just have to note here that the story of Jerry’s encounter with a botfly larva is lovingly detailed in Tropical Nature by my friends and colleagues Adrian Forsyth and Ken Miyata (in Ken’s case, sadly, a late friend and colleague). It’s in the chapter with the wonderful title “Jerry’s Maggot”.  I’ve made it required reading for my Costa Rica field courses.

10 thoughts on “Jerry’s Maggot

  1. What is required reading, the chapter or the book?

    Do they do the reading while walking out in the field? 🙂

    1. The whole book is required. And they read it before arriving in Costa Rica. One of the first things we do in Costa Rica is a quiz on the book (as a gentle encouragement to read– it really is a good book, not just in its content, but its writing, and once started it is easy to finish).


    2. Greg, I just finished reading “Tropical Nature” and I found it to be delightfully well written as well as chock full of interesting content.

  2. That is a great title – there’s a double meaning, presumably intentional – ‘someone’s maggot’ in 18th century English (or was it 17th? or both?) meant someone’s obsession or folly. I don’t remember if it meant both or if one derived from the other.

    Oh wait – maybe it derives from people’s experience of getting one in the head. Yeah duh it probably does. New World vocabulary.

  3. Oh yeah, there was a smell in my garage this morning and I tracked it down to one of the trash cans. When I opened it up – you guessed it – maggots. To the kitchen for the Lysol spray.

  4. I heard Jerry talk about his botfly experience on Radio Lab on NPR the other day. Man, was it disgusting, and cool!

  5. Even in the U.S. one must be aware of the botfly larva. Michigan and West Virginia have high incidences of pets that end up becoming hosts to warbles.

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