Atlas de Especies Invasoras de Puerto Rico

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A Long-Gone Parasite Returns to Florida, Leaving a Trail of Dead Deer


NOVEMBER 25, 2016


BIG PINE KEY, Fla. — The first signs seemed baffling: deer stumbling around in confusion, howling in pain, found with their heads hideously disfigured — as if eaten alive.


What biologists discovered turned out to be even more frightening: the reappearance of a parasite known as the New World screwworm fly that had not been seen in the United States since the 1970s and had been considered eradicated.


State and federal officials are hopeful that the infestation, which so far is restricted to Florida’s southernmost Monroe County, is being controlled. Symptoms were first reported in wild deer in July, and laboratory tests in late September confirmed the presence of the screwworm, which is the larva of the screwworm fly.


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