PostNatural Organism of the Month:
Sterile Male Screwworm
During the late 1950's a large-scale public works program was initiated to eradicate the live-flesh-eating screwworm plaguing cattle ranches across the American south. The screwworm is the larval stage of the fly, Cochliomyia hominivorax. Full-scale fly factories were produced in Florida and Texas capable of producing 500 billion sterile male flies per week.
The factories were optimized to expedite each stage of the fly's life and to sort them by gender prior to their emergence from the pupae. Male screwworms, at the age of 5 ½ days, were loaded into metal tubes and carried by a lone worker to the irradiation facility where they were exposed to a radioactive sample of Cobalt 60, permanently ending their reproductive capacity. Following maturation into adult flies, they were released from airplanes 1,000 ft above America's cattle growing regions where the now impotent males would attempt unsuccessfully to mate with the typically monogamous females.
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