Romance online exhibition
Panstrongylus megistus Burmeister
Accession number LIV.1986.3
The name 'kissing bug' might sound romantic, but you really wouldn't want to kiss one of these little creatures.
The kissing bug is one of a small group of true bugs found in the tropical South and Central America and the southern United States. They are called 'kissing bugs' because they feed on blood from sleeping humans by painlessly piercing the victim's lips, eyelids or ears. They are of serious medical importance. Through their feeding they can pass on to humans a single-celled parasite, Trypanosoma cruzi, which is responsible for causing Chaga's Disease. This can result in chronic neurological disorders and serious damage to the heart and digestive system.
The bug specimen pictured was donated to World Museum with the collections of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. It has a label that reads 'Ex Tropical School 52.41' and another with its Latin name. The specimen is about 25mm long.
Visitors can also see a larger-than-life wax model of the insect in the 'Dishing out disease' display at the Bug House at World Museum. It is part of a series of large insect models made at the Natural History Museum, London in the 1960s and donated to our collections in 2000.
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