Home >> Encyclopedia Americana, Volume 8 >> County to Crome >> Crab Island

Crab Island

disease, insect and spider


(Phthirius inguinalis), a wingless insect of the family Pediculidce or suc tonal lice, which is usually classified under the Hemiptera. It is different in shape from the other lice, having a short and broad crab-like appearance. It is whitish, with the thick legs and claws reddish, and is nearly one-tenth of an inch in length. The crab-louse infests the pubic regions of the human body, sometimes occurring among the hairs of the arm-pits, or even of the eye-brows. The insect attaches its eggs in great numbers to the hairs, as may easily be seen with an ordinary reading-glass; and the young half burrow beneath the skin, clinging tenaciously. The itch or disease called phthiri asis is due to the attacks of this repulsive pest, when occurring in great numbers. The virul ence of the disease in ancient writings was prob ably exaggerated. Sharp suggests that in the cases of disease attributed to this insect the patient was suffering from some other disease, but being in a neglected and filthy condition was horribly infested with these disgusting crea tures. Red precipitate, and any oily or greasy .

applications, together with frequent use of car bolic acid soap are efficient remedies.

a small spider of the family Thomisidcr, socalled on account of its laterally bent legs and side-wise progression. The body is much depressed and the ocelli ar ranged in two parallel transverse rows. The Thomisus vulgaris and other species are com mon in the United States. They spin no webs except for the support of the cocoon, but pursue their prey which, owing to their flat bodies, they are enabled to seek in crevices. The claws or talons of this spider are very large and strong: sometimes they are removed, set in gold, and used as tooth-picks, being supposed to have medicinal properties as prophylactic of tooth ache. The name is also applied to the bird catching spider (q.v.).