Hello!

I am hoping you may be able to help me, or at least steer me in the right direction.

About two months ago, my 18 year old daughter felt something poking her scalp.  A thin, wiry bug (resembling a small tadpole), no more than 1/2" long was removed from a hair follicle, with what appeared to be blood on the end.  Unfortunately, she did not keep it for identification.  Tonight, she again felt something poky and I removed a thin, wiry bug (this is a little smaller, about 3/4" long) from her hair follicle with tweezers.  It is mostly clear/white with some grey/black.  I have scoured the internet trying to identify this, with no luck.  I can send pictures also.  Any help you can provide with identification is GREATLY appreciated!

Thank you!

Hi Lynnea,

send a photo to askabiologist[at]googlemail.com and we'll take a look. My initial thought would be head lice, but it sounds a bit big.

far too big they are barely visible to the naked eye (my kids had them endlessly when they were younger).

Of course - my idea of the scale was somewhat confused by 3/4" being smaller than 1/2"...

Lynnea, it might be a blood sucking bug like Rhodnius - they fit the description but your daughter would probably have needed to be somewhere in South or Central America to pick them up - is this likely?

Rhodnius look like this when they have fed:
http://www.u.arizona.edu/~weichsel/pic/rhodnius.gif

In any case, this sounds more like a job for your friendly local GP than for a bunch of strangers on the Internet, albeit unusually charming and handsome strangers.  Seriously: keep the next one, put it in an airtight jar, and take it to your doctor.