Bang on time, an island-hopping analogy

Just as predicted, a couple of weeks into the new term and 8-year-old was caught scritch-scratching behind the ear.

We’ve invested in a new nit comb, after the one we bought in Canada 5 years ago started to shed tines.

And tonight three little louselings have been dredged out.

This being the 21st century, we no longer believe in spontaneous generation, so a model of island biogeography offers us the best understanding of what has occurred.

First, there are no adults, not one. Second, the louse nymphs are all the same size, about 0.5 mm long. This implies that a mature, egg-laden female visited the island (8-year-old’s head) from some other part of the archipelago (class of schoolmates). She laid her eggs over a very short period, probably an hour or two, then moved off to another isle (probably during literacy lesson). A week later the eggs are hatching synchronously and the baby lice are starting to crawl about and to feed.

Of course, there is no actual island hopping (or skipping, or jumping) because head lice only crawl, but instead of having to negotiate seas between the islands, these islands conveniently visit and bump each other, head-to-head.

We got in quick, this time, with our vermin eradication programme. But we must keep vigilant.

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