Mankind’s ability to drive species into extinction is tragic and legendary: The Tasmanian wolf and tiger, the dodo bird, the freaking passenger pigeon, plus hundreds, nay thousands, of other species of fauna and flora–remember the moly plant? Nope, no one does because it was so prized by the Romans as both an abortifacient and flavoring, it was harvested to the point that it no longer exists; it may have been related to fennel–and disrupting the earth’s delicate ecosystem.
But what about the pubic louse, Phthirus pubis? Yeah, crabs, aka crotch clingers, a (usually) sexually transmitted critter that is embarrassing and yucky and itchy and colonizes pubic hair. Eeuuuw!
Would we, would the world as whole, be better off without the pubic louse, aka the crab louse? What to do they do aside from prove somebody’s a skank? Well, we may be finding out the answer to that sooner than later, since the pubic louse may soon join the Bengal tiger on the endangered species list. And not because of pesticides, or detergents, but because we are ripping out their environment: Our pubic hair.
Waning infestations of the bloodsuckers have been linked by doctors to pubic depilation, especially a technique popularized in the 1990s by a Manhattan salon run by seven Brazilian sisters…Ten years ago, U.K. doctors noticed a dwindling in cases of pubic lice even as patient numbers and prevalence rates of other sexually transmitted infections increased. Janet Wilson, a consultant in sexual health and HIV, linked the trend with the growing popularity of pubic hair removal she and colleagues observed among patients attending the genitourinary medicine department at the General Infirmary in Leeds, northern England.
And this is causing concern to those who care about bugs:
“Pubic grooming has led to a severe depletion of crab louse populations,” said Ian F. Burgess, a medical entomologist with Insect Research & Development Ltd. in Cambridge, England. “Add to that other aspects of body hair depilation, and you can see an environmental disaster in the making for this species.”