Friends Please Forward this Message.
If you happen to see this kind of insect do not touch it and try to hit it with bare hand. It has a kind of virus which immediately infects your hand and spreads as shown. This insect is found in India and post the rains it is likely to be more in numbers. Hence if you happen to see this please stay away and not venture close to it. Spread this awareness across.
Warning: Pictures in this article can be disturbing. Viewer discretion advised.
A disturbing picture doing rounds on free messaging service WhatsApp and other social networking and image sharing websites warns people not to touch or hit the kind of insect shown in the picture with bare hand, saying doing so will infect your hand with a Virus that supposedly deforms your skin and spreads as shown in the image. It is also said that the insect is found in India, especially after rains, and if seen, people are warned to stay away from it. Readers are even asked to share the message and spread awareness, but as a matter of fact, the claims are simply hoaxes.
About the Insect
The insect seen in the image certainly belongs to a family of insects called Belostomatidae, known as giant water bugs or colloquially as toe-biters, Indian toe-biters, alligator ticks, electric-light bugs, or simply fleas in Florida. Most of the species are relatively large, typically at least 0.75 in (2 cm) long; the largest are members of the genus Lethocerus, which can exceed 4.75 in (12 cm). Interestingly, in Belostomatidae species, the eggs are typically laid on the male’s wings and are carried until they hatch. This is what the right-side image of the insect actually depicts. But as mentioned in the story, no such information about virus infection with bare hand touch of the insect is available. On the contrary, the giant water bugs are a popular food in certain countries of Southeast Asia.
About the Picture of ‘Virus Infected Hand’
The scary and disturbing picture of the virus infected hand shown as the aftermath of touching the insect has been online for few months now, with various stories attached to it. It also raised questions whether the image is authentic or a Photoshop edit. It appeared on a reddit.com post on 29 Sep 2015 – under a category called Trypophobia. Prior to that on 19 Jun 2015, the picture appeared on Instagram.com account of Cynthia Koning, and more importantly, the same day the woman from Netherlands uploaded a video on YouTube that showed a ‘Trypophobia Hand Tutorial’ in her ‘QUEENKINGSFX‘ Channel. As you can see in the video, the woman demonstrates how to create the special effects (disturbing illusion) on hand by using some skin wax and some gore (fake). Cynthia Koning keeps sharing such special effects ‘make up’ stuff in her YouTube channel.
Trypophobia is a claimed pathological fear of holes, especially those with irregular patterns. Although many people say they have the condition, as of this writing, Trypophobia is not an official phobia recognized in scientific literature.
As for the picture and story of bare hand getting infected with virus when one touches or hits the insect, they are just hoaxes. The picture of hand is a product of special effects make up, and the insect that belongs to Belostomatidae species does not inject virus when touched.
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