vampire moths!

I am still trying to shake off that unwanted running buddy of midsection kilograms - and marvel at how I have less of an issue showing off my running-induced blue toes in sandals than coping with the war trophy of the end-of-term stomach (induced by sleepless nights writing, marking, or invigilating). The blog post I had been composing was supposed to be about the pleasure of running far enough to see swans puff themselves out like cumuli on hot days, or the pheasant I found that lives in a park; the indescribable pleasure of feeling the weather and its hourly changes as opposed to intellectually understanding what it says in an app. But what finally prompted me to open this Compose page were the two vampire moth bites I sustained - which frightened me so much, that I now prefer to do regular 17 mile runs on a totally different route in order to avoid the chance of seeing these insects again, for a time.
One day, I was running along, minding my own business, when I felt something on my leg and was astounded by the leaf-like, moth-like thing with a long pointed stinger inserted into my thigh. The bite caused a lot of skin irritation, and lasted for over a week... until another such moth bit me again. The funny thing about this is that I then did research into whether I had been seeing things (after all, I run at midday - so, yes, under the strongest sun - on 95 degree days: insert mirage emoji) is that I discovered that the insect seeks the hottest part of the body. And I strike harder with my right foot - so guess which leg was bit both times. It was actually in almost the same place, too. So, this blog will be a PSA - only for the next paragraph.



After the second bite, I googled to see whether it is possible for moths to bite, and to be out during the day. The BBC has an article explaining that due to global warming, moths do come out in the day now. All that was left was to find the kind of moth that bit me, and thanks to National Geographic, I confirmed it was a vampire moth (other photos make the moth look kind of small, but the one that bit me was at least 1.5 cm - just like the one in National Geographic's video). Many of the entymology sites I visited had commenters scoffing at those claiming to have been bitten by a moth, which is why I wanted to write this post. It is possible, as far as I'm concerned, and if you are sensitive to bug bites, like I am (thankfully - that is how I knew I was bit by an infected tick a while back), this particular insect is one you will want to swat away immediately. It is not like the plethora of Asian insects you are best advised to finish drinking, lest you cause them to spit back into you: apparently, this insect is not known to carry any disease. It just leaves you with what can be a particularly nasty bite, which for the recently sleep deprived, means even more sleepless nights...
So, recent-day mileage has now surpassed the highest of recent weekly mileage, all so I can avoid "the field of vampire moths" (I noted I was bit in the same field twice). But the new route is even better than where I went before: I am more exposed to the life of a smaller river, far closer to it for much longer, and pass by a "field of fishermen" (they have a little lawn where they sit in the shade of trees, while a dozen meters ahead of them are their myriad fishing poles, with buckets interspersed).
Which is to say that the vampire moth has had a positive effect in my life; I just hope that I will be able to process all the turbulence of my recent work life in the same way, and come out on top - if at the very least with something discovered.

Brush: Misprinted Type.

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