The 24th annual meeting of the Alabama Vector Management Society will be held March 7-8, 2013 in Orange Beach, AL. Visit our Annual Meeting page for more information. It is worth 10 Alabama Recertification Points. You can now join AVMS and register for the annual meeting on-line!
SCIENTIFIC NAME: Arilus cristatus
By Nathan D. Burkett-Cadena, AVMS member
The wheel bug is a large, predatory insect native to North America and is a common inhabitant of gardens and yards. Wheel bugs get their common name from the large, rounded extension of the exoskeleton that protrudes from the dorsal thorax. This wheel-shaped extension is said to resemble a cog or gear embedded in the insect’s back. The body of wheel bugs is usually gray with brownish legs and antennae. The head is long and slender and has a long “beak” which it uses to stab its prey (mostly caterpillars and other soft-bodied insects) and then drink the prey’s bodily fluids. The beak is folded under the head at rest, but is held downward or in front of the head during feeding.
Many people only learn about wheel bugs after being bitten … Read More »
Since intensive oral rabies vaccination (ORV) efforts were conducted in central Alabama in 2005, new rabies cases in rac-coons and foxes have popped up in Elmore and Autauga counties, areas that were con-sidered to be raccoon-rabies-free. The USDA is considering these positive cases as “breaches” of the Alabama-Coosa river system, a natural, geographic “barrier” for the endemic occurrence of raccoon-variant rabies within Alabama.
Currently, USDA Wildlife Services and the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) are working to identify the extent of the recent outbreak using trapping, night surveys, and enhanced surveillance of reportedly sick or dead animals.
Meanwhile, plans are underway at the national level to administer more ORV baits to these areas to stop the further migration of the disease and eliminate it from the area. Baits will likely be distributed with helicopters and targeted toward dense rac-coon population areas. … Read More »
Raccoons (Procyon lotor) are medium-sized and stocky-built animals (23.7 to 46.5 in.) with long bushy tails that have five to seven black rings. The head is broad in the rear and narrows to a short, pointed nose. The feet have hairless soles and claws that are non-retractable. Raccoons are similar to humans in that they are plantigrade, a term used to describe animals that walk on the soles of their feet. The front feet have long, thin flexible fingers that are opposable to some degree and are very sensitive to touch. They have the capability of grasping or holding onto food or other objects. The face has a very notice-able black mask across the eyes and cheeks that is outlined with white. The fur is a coarse gray, brown, and black with lighter shades on the … Read More »
According to an article published in the New England Journal of Medicine (364:1626-1633, April 28, 2011), researchers have discovered using genetic sequencing that armadillos infected with leprosy and some human patients diagnosed with the illness share a common strain of a leprosy-causing bacteria.
The finding provides the strongest evidence to date that armadillos could transmit the illness to humans, according to the study. Armadillos can be found in 10 U.S. states, and are the only animals other than humans that have been shown to be carriers of leprosy.
To preview the article for free, visit http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1010536