March 11, 2013

"The Sunshine State, already home to man-eating sinkholes, invading Burmese pythons, swarming sharks, tropical storms and other disasters..."

"... can expect to see an explosion of shaggy-haired gallinippers (Psorophora ciliata), a type of giant mosquito...."
"It's about 20 times bigger than the sort of typical, Florida mosquito that you find... And it's mean, and it goes after people, and it bites, and it hurts."...

The term "gallinipper" isn't recognized by most entomologists, but over the past century, the word — and the insect — entered popular legend through Southern folktales, minstrel shows and blues songs....

The earliest description of the pest comes from 1897 by a writer who called the insect "the shyest, slyest, meanest and most venomous of them all."
"Gallinipper" is in the Oxford English Dictionary, meaning "A large mosquito." Three old examples are given:
1818 Sporting Mag. 1 261 Smaller flies from the gallinipper to the moschetto, began to muster in all directions.
1838 T. C. Haliburton Clockmaker 2nd Ser. iii, He jump'd up..a snappin' of his fingers, as if he wor bit by a galley-nipper.
1867 A. L. Adams Wanderings Naturalist India 59 That prince of gallynippers, the sandfly, whose bite produces a painful..swelling.
This reminds me... whatever happened to killer bees?

And if gallinippers are so horrible, why does Missouri have a Gallinipper Creek State Wildlife Area?

31 comments:

Scott M said...

And if gallinippers are so horrible, why does Missouri have a Gallinipper Creek State Wildlife Area?

Because we're the "Show Me" (ie, no bullshit, prove it) State. We also have a Former Nuclear Waste Site Biking Trail and a Billy The Kid Got Laid Here Picnic Area.

Surfed said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Surfed said...

Great. Just what I needed to hear. Have you heard about the jumping sturgeons (fish) on the Suwanee river? They hurt when they hit you traveling by boat. Next thing you know it'll be pirahnas...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZzcMqEtXdY&safety_mode=true&persist_safety_mode=1&safe=active

Original Mike said...

So, this thing is 20 times bigger than the average mosquito? Sounds like an easy target, to me.

john said...

Africanized honey bees have incorporated themselves in the south and southwest, and are here to stay. More agressive than the bees they displaced, but their sting is not any more potent.

They will chase you for longer distances, so I'm told.

edutcher said...

Time to break out the DDT.

bpm4532 said...

I don't know which is worse, insects you have to take down with a shotgun or those damn "no see ums" (biting midges).

Julie C said...

This story underscores why I will never move to Florida. Flying cockroaches, gators, giant mosquitos, former New Yorkers ...

Scott M said...

@Julie C

I was stationed up in the Panhandle in FL. The flying roaches you mentioned are indeed awful. They are called palmetto bugs locally, and they are fracking disgusting.

Icepick said...

This reminds me... whatever happened to killer bees?

They got eaten by the fire ants and Nile Monitor Lizards, both of which are also problems down here in Florida.

But the biggest problem we've had from invasive species has been from damned Yankees. They're all over the damned place, and you're not allowed to hunt them. Grrr.

rhhardin said...

Killer bees succumbed to Weekly World News's killer trees.

The killer trees likewise escaped from a lab in Brazil, and could walk slowly.

They were making their way northwards.

They are chiefly a threat to the elderly and infants, owing to their walking speed.

Bertram Wooster said...

Florida was never fit for human habitation to begin with. If the endless every day nuisances aren't enough to prove it the next category five hurricane will go far in that direction.

Icepick said...

If the endless every day nuisances aren't enough to prove it the next category five hurricane will go far in that direction.

Yeah, SE Florida just emptied out of all those damned Yankees after Hurricane Andrew. Oh, wait, that didn't happen.

Face it, millions and millions of people would rather face the occasional hurricane than live in a fucking snowbank.

chrisnavin.com said...

It's mostly the people I'm worried about in Florida, and the odd gator on land.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

DDT

Rocketeer said...

I was stationed up in the Panhandle in FL. The flying roaches you mentioned are indeed awful. They are called palmetto bugs locally, and they are fracking disgusting.

I lived in SC for several years, and in my first apartment there had to call in an exterminator for the Palmetto bugs. He came over and inspected, gave me a quote, and asked me why on earth I wanted to waste money trying to get rid of them. "Because I can't stand living in an apartment filthy with these bugs," I said. He kind of chuckled and said, "Look, this is South Carolina. You're gonna have Palmetto bugs, and you're gonna have to get used to that notion. If your apartment is clean, your Palmetto bugs will be too."

Scott M said...

@Rocketeer

Strangely enough, every time I lived off-base, I had to deal with them. I never had to suffer them when living in the barracks.

(ps - Air Force "barracks" is another way of saying posh enlisted apartments)

John Burgess said...

Julie C: It's safe to come down. It's actually the former New Jerseyites and Canadians that give the place a bad reputation. The New Yorkers are mostly innocuous.

The flying cockroaches (aka Palmetto Bugs) aren't a big deal either. They don't mass like the ones up north, don't stink, and you can usually just chase them out of the house. Or get a cat.

The little anole lizards are a bit more of a nuisance. Stepping on them in your bare feet while you're making your morning coffee... well, not something for the scrapbook.

Lem said...

And home to Florida Man.

Fritz said...

Fortunately, rising sea level should take care of the problem eventually.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Julie C,

This story underscores why I will never move to Florida. Flying cockroaches, gators, giant mosquitos, former New Yorkers ...

... leprosy-bearing armadillos ...

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Face it, millions and millions of people would rather face the occasional hurricane than live in a fucking snowbank.

There does exist a lot of room between these extremes, you know. I live in OR, which has its points. We get snow, which doesn't really rise to "fucking snowbank" proportions, once or twice a year. There is the rain, OTOH, but I believe there is rain even in FL. And occasional freezing temperatures, too.

Downsides: winter days are really short, because of the latitude. Upsides: Summer days are really long, because, ditto. Also: No sales tax. And an economy that, while it might be pretty sucky, could not conceivably be worse than CA's. And you get to see how Portlandia isn't exactly fiction; it's more like an anthropological study :-)

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Fritz,

Fortunately, rising sea level should take care of the problem eventually.

Or there's always the solution in the Niven/Pournelle novel Lucifer's Hammer, in which one result of a comet hitting the Earth is that several fragment strikes are in the Gulf of Mexico, causing tsunamis that sweep over FL, cut the state into a set of islands, and permanently wreak havoc on the Gulf Stream. (Which would be bad news for England, except that England is pretty much already wiped out too.)

Crunchy Frog said...

This reminds me... whatever happened to killer bees?

We care a lot about disasters, fires, floods and killer bees
We care a lot about NASA space shuttles falling in the sea
We care a lot about starvation and the food that Live Aid bought
We care a lot about disease, baby, Rock Hudson, rock, yeah!

Oh, it's a dirty job but someone's gotta do it...

Brian Johnson said...

Sorry, but fire ants suck the worst. I've had my kids get chewed up by these things a couple of times. My son looked up fire ants after a fire ant attack and the picture on Wikipedia looked better than his own leg. In my neighborhood we now have bobcats and otters. Have you seen an otter attack?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bBF2qXEIStw

Still we love the state. :)

Emil Blatz said...

In mine opinion, we'll be fine. The only problem in the near term for Fl is how to clear the stock of houses which are either abandoned or in various stages of the glacial process of judicial foreclosure. It takes between 2 and 3 years from start to finish for a foreclosure here, so many properties are in limbo.

Icepick said...

There does exist a lot of room between these extremes, you know.

Anyplace north of I-10 is fucking snow bank land. Most of the Florida panhandle is fucking snow bank land. Snow sucks.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Brian Johnson,

Sorry, but fire ants suck the worst.

When my sister and I were kids, our family used to spend a week or so on Sanibel Island, round Christmas. One time my sister picked up a coconut near the beach. It had an ant nest in it. Neither pretty nor fun.

As a general rule, the nasty wildlife gets scarcer, larger, and easier to spot the further you get from the equator. Just sayin'.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Icepick,

I'm curious about your moniker now. If you refuse to live anywhere there is, well, actual ice, what's an icepick for? Or is it a Trotsky reference?

Mom2Es said...

Missouri probably has that because Crane Flies are also commonly called gallinippers.

Mom2Es said...

Missouri probably has that because Crane Flies are also commonly called gallinippers.