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The Mites That Crawl, Eat, and Have Sex on Your Face

Reading the linked post will make your face itch. You've been warned. Two species of the microscopic worm Demodex live on human skin and hair follicles. D.folliculorum and D.brevis, seen in the picture above, are very commonly found on faces.

But it’s hard to say exactly how common they are. The first estimate came from a 1903 study, which found the critters in 49 out of 100 French cadavers. The next count, from 1908, found them in 97 out of 100 German cadavers. The nationalities are probably a red herring. What’s clearer is that age matters. The mites aren’t inherited at birth, so each generation picks them up anew, probably from direct contact with our parents. Thanks, parents! If you’re under 20, good news! A French study from 1972 says that you’ve only got a 4 percent chance of carrying Demodex. If you’re old, bad news! You’ve almost certainly got Demodex somewhere.

Ed Yong at Not Exactly Rocket Science explains the activities and life cycle of these worms, in case you are interested. Link -via Boing Boing

(Image credit: Nutting, 1976)

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