Meet the Hookworm

hookworm-07022012-04Recently, the genome of the American hookworm, Necator americanus was completed (read more here). In celebration of this achievement, the American hookworm is our cool animal of the week. Also, parasitic nematodes just really don’t get enough love and attention, so it is time to honor them.

The American hookworm is picked up by humans and other mammals from the soil and then feeds on blood before making a home in the small intestine. An estimated 700 million people are affected by this parasite worldwide and unfortunately none are investment bankers or other financial district employees (because that would be amazing–parasites living within the parasites of society….soo meta and karmic).

You can protect yourself from hookworm, by simply wearing shoes which means that poor people from developing nations are overwhelmingly the afflicted majority.

Hookworm FootCheck out the sensational (in a ridiculous way) video on hookworms by Animal Planet.

If you want to help–donate money to a world health organization, which can build proper latrines and put down cement, instead of buying a pair of TOMS shoes.

“Meet the…” is a collaboration between The Finch & Pea and Nature Afield to bring Nature’s amazing creatures into your home.

Author: Heidi Kay Smith

Biology PhD student on the cusp of finishing and moving on to a postdoc in the behavioral ecology of amphibians. I blog to share my thoughts, ideas, and general feelings of awe of the natural world.

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