From Iceland — Crab Lice In Iceland Dying Out Due To Loss Of Habitat

Crab Lice In Iceland Dying Out Due To Loss Of Habitat

Published October 13, 2022

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Doc. RNDr. Josef Reischig, CSc/Wikimedia Commons

Pthirus pubis, better known as crab lice, pubic lice, or more colloquially “crabs”, are dying out in Iceland due to a loss of habitat, RÚV reports.

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This humble insect has been well known over the centuries, living in symbiosis with human beings since time immemorable. The crab louse has also made Iceland its home–or at least, up until recently.

Erling Ólafsson, writing a post in the Facebook group “Heimur smádýranna” (The world of small animals), expressed his great interest in lice, explaining that while many types of lice can still be found in Iceland, two in particular are dying out:

“The head louse lives a good life here, the clothes louse that was common in the past has probably disappeared … due to general cleaning and the crab louse is on the decline,” he write in part. “Before, I occasionally received a sample of the crab louse to weigh and evaluate for the person. It’s been a long time since the last time. Presumably the destruction of habitat is primarily to blame!”

It probably does not need to be elaborated on what “habitat” he is referring to, nor why this habitat is disappearing. Good news all around regardless, unless you’re a crab louse.

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