12 Little-Known Facts about Mangoworms

Sightseeing and admiring the iconic wildlife is one of the many reasons tourists visit Africa. While most people initially think of only giraffes, zebras, monkeys, lions, and elephants with Africa, Africa is teeming with a vast multitude of living creatures. One of the more proliferous types of wildlife – bugs – are quite interesting in Africa. In fact, there’s even a bug that can hatch out of your skin. Yes, the the larvae of the mango fly (also known as the African tumbu fly, or skin maggot fly) embeds itself into a host, incubates, and then “hatches” out of the skin. Keep reading to find out 12 more interesting facts about mangoworms!

1. Mango Flies Require a Mammal as Host.

Mango Flies Require a Mammal as Host.

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The life cycle of a mango fly depends on the presence of a host to feed and incubate the larvae. Dogs, rats, and livestock such as goats tend to be the most common hosts.  Mangoworms in humans is not nearly as prevalent; as such, humans are referred to as “accidental hosts.”

2. Worried about a Massive Infection? The Secretions of the Mango Worms Inhibit Bacterial Growth.

Worried about a Massive Infection? The Secretions of the Mango Worms Inhibit Bacterial Growth.

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Despite this fact, it is always wise to receive a course of antibiotics as you heal from mangoworm furuncles. Proper hygiene and wound care helps prevent secondary infections from forming. Be sure to clean your dogs’ wounds as well.

3. Their Scientific Name Derives from “Human Eater.”

Their Scientific Name Derives from "Human Eater."

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The scientific name of the mango fly is cordylobia anthropophaga. Anthropophaga is a Greek word that is derived from the anthropophagos, which means “human eater” – a fitting yet gruesome name.

4. Veterinarians Know the Best Removal Technique is the Simplest: The Treatment? Pop it out Like a Pimple.


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Dogs in sub-Saharan Africa are frequently exposed to mangoworm larvae. Because mango flies lay their eggs in moist soil, especially soil marked with urine or feces, dogs’ outdoor areas tend to be heavily visited by tumbu flies. Because mangoworms in dogs is a common situation, African vets are pros at the mangoworm removal process. They understand the importance of getting the larvae out as soon as possible before the furuncles grow too big. The best technique? Popping them out like a pimple!