crab louseOne of the great joys (and curses) of blogging is the random email. I think after this, I have now officially heard it all:

“I have a question for the entimoligist. [sic] I’m hoping you could give me some advice. My boyfriend is all excited about the love lice, pubic hair animal things and wants us to get them. I’m not sure this is such a good idea. He says these are specially bred and they’re not the same kind as homeless people’s lice. He says these are bigger and tame. I’d never heard of this before, but he and his buddies are all into it. “

And she then referred me to this website: “The FanSite of the Lousing Lifestyle.” From their FAQ page:

The dealio is special bred pubic crab louses from Japan (not the same as homeless people’s variety of lice exactly). First, they DON’T BITE, they just live off dead skin cells and such in your bush. Really, you’re cleaner with them there than without them.
Second, these babies are HUGE!!! Well, huge compared to regular lice. And they just live happily in your underwear.
It’s so COOL! They grow, and have families.
You can feel em living and crawling around. It’s like having personal Sea monkeys in your pants.

Egad. I immediately thought that this was a spoof site, but it is a spoof someone is investing a lot of time and energy into. (I especially like the username “Lice Lice Baby!”).

Given the infinite ability of humans to get off on just about anything, I’ll grant that someone could fetishize having pubic lice (Phthirus pubis for those who want the taxonomic details). And it does have it’s own fetish name: pthirophilia. Certainly someone believes this fad is real enough to ask for an interview on Craig’s list.

However, whether it is real or not, the site is spreading a great deal of misinformation.

First, the likelihood that “pet” crab lice could be bred to not bite and live off dead skin cells is nill.
To put it more bluntly, It’s. Total. Bull. Shit.
These animals have spent millions of years feeding on blood through your skin–they have no way to suddenly start munching skin cells.

A crab louse infestation is also not pleasant–from Medline:

“The presence of pubic lice is heralded by moderate to severe itching in the area covered by pubic hair….Because the crab louse requires human blood to survive, it buries its head inside a pubic hair follicle. It excretes a substance into the skin that causes the itching.
Sometimes the bite can cause an inflammatory skin reaction that is bluish gray in color. Although the lice do not cause a rash, the constant scratching and digging can cause the skin to become raw, and secondary infections may develop.”

Second, the idea that these are your crabs, and that having them is low risk to anyone else, is also not correct. A scientific study from 1983 suggests that crab lice are quite active, and move about between subjects more than previously believed. While it is rare for transmission to occur, trying on bathing suits and underwear is a known risk for transmission of crab lice, as is sharing bedding or clothing with an infected person. Crabs can survive for up to 2 days off their host.

Lastly, the idea promoted on LoveBugz that you can “easily” get rid of crabs is not correct. Additionally, the LoveBugz site suggests using Kerosene, which is about the worst thing you can possibly do (especially if you have open sores from the bites!).

As anyone who’s tried to get rid of head lice can tell you, just one treatment isn’t always enough. Detailed instructions on how to safely get rid of pubic lice are here. Note that crab lice can also occur in the eyebrows and armpits; make sure you wash everything.

So, if the goal of the email was to get me to link to the LoveBugz site, I guess they succeeded–but that site is total BS.

But Wait! There’s more!

Pubic Lice: The SEQUEL


Posted by Gwen Pearson

Entomologist. Educator. Writer. NERD.


  1. Eww…and yet, so funny! People can be so dumb!

  2. The Japanese will market ANYTHING, as long as it’s crazy enough. People who buy these get what they deserve (but is it too much to ask that they be sterilized, for the good of the gene pool?).

  3. I agree with raincoaster. Let’s hope these idiots do not breed.

  4. I’m speechless!

  5. U R Stoopid!

    Clearly, you have no idea what you’re talking about.

    First and formost, you’re confusing head lice and genital lice: THEY ARE TOTALLY DIFFERENT BEASTS! They only have the ‘louse’ name in common. Look it up. They’re different animals altogether and the advice you give applies to head lice.

    Genital lice or crabs CANNOT infest your head. Head lice DO spread like wild fire while pubic lice or love lice DO NOT.

    Further, you’re confusing regular genital lice with these new bred ones. These are specially bred love bugs. Comparing them and regular lice are like comparing a chiwawa with a cow: one is small and meat-eating and the other is very large grazer. These suckers, well, they don’t suck. They’re big and killing them off is easy. In fact keeping them alive and caring for them is part of the enjoyment. I don’t know if they’re a separate species, but the size difference allow will block they’re procreation.

    That there’s a name for a genital louse fetish, pthirophilia, it shows that enough people are into this that it gets it’s own name. Obviously, somebody is getting something out of it.

    And finally, Bug Girl is an anonymous internet source. Of course, I am too, but I’m not pretending to be a PhD expert on insects who doesn’t know the difference between head lice and body lice before she posts. For non-erronious information, please see:
    for the real deal.


    Dr. Bugger

    (Bug Girl, in the spirit of open debate, I hope you don’t delete my post. You insulted my friends and me pretty hard and I deserve an opportunity to rebut. I see you don’t agree with me, but if you only allow posted comments that you agree with, then the open discussion policy you espouse is BS. There’s nothing profane or obscene in my post so I hope you will respect other people with differing opinions enough to leave this up. B.)

  6. I’m willing to bet it’s fake. There’s really not much content on the site, but tons and tons of ads. With links like this from all over the net just having to check in for the ick and incredulity factor they’re probably getting back more than they invested.

    “Sea monkeys in your pants” :D Pure gold. :D

  7. “Dr.” Bugger said:

    U R Stoopid!
    Clearly, you have no idea what you’re talking about. (etc.)

    Nowhere have I confused head lice and pubic lice. I have *compared* them because they are similar. I have also given detailed taxonomic information about crab lice, referenced primary scientific literature, and explained why you are utterly full of shit.

    You have an animated head louse on your website (not a crab louse). Are you saying that you are raising giant head lice in your BVDs?

  8. Oh, and “Dr.” Bugger also said:

    “Genital lice or crabs CANNOT infest your head. Head lice DO spread like wild fire while pubic lice or love lice DO NOT.”

    I guess you better contact the CDC, and correct them too.

    “Pubic lice are generally found in the genital area on pubic hair; but they may occasionally be found on other coarse body hair, such as hair on the legs, armpits, mustache, beard, eyebrows, or eyelashes. Infestations of young children are usually on the eyebrows or eyelashes. “

  9. Bug Girl, what can you expect? The guy’s a little preoccupied: his legpit is a festering, heaving insectiod smorgasbord of creepy-crawlies. Hard to concentrate in that state, I’d imagine. He freely admits he doesn’t even know what they are.

  10. As to whether or not his friends are insulted, well I for one am willing to stand by my statement that his customers A) get what they deserve and B) should be sterilized for the good of the gene pool. You’d think it would be harder to insult people who actually pay for genital infestations.

  11. I checked the web site. In light of that and Dr. Bugger’s comments above, my money’s on parody. And April 1 is still a couple of weeks away.

  12. The internet is big, wacky, and wild. It used to be that sex fetishes like this were hidden and closeted. Today on the internet, we can peek in on each others’ sex lives. I see this as another example. Just because something is off-the-wall weird like this, doesn’t mean it isn’t real.

    The Meebo chat room, that lovebugz uses, logs all chats and you can go to and look at what’s been said before. I read through it some. It goes back for several pages and looks genuine to me. You’d be able to tell if it was faked or was the same user using different names.

    So, I think there are a lot of freaks out there doing freaky things with their freaky selves and we just got a glimpse into that world. I will say it is VERY freaky and they can stay far away from my daughter.

  13. I can’t see why anyone would do this. Even if the lice didn’t bite, who really wants bugs crawling around in their pants?

  14. IMO the only reason that this “creepy-crawly” dude posted a long blah, blah, blah off-base comment was to draw hits to his blog.

    He says:

    That there’s a name for a genital louse fetish, pthirophilia, it shows that enough people are into this that it gets it’s own name. Obviously, somebody is getting something out of it.

    He claims he has the critters in his crotch and that keeping them alive and caring for them is part of the enjoyment. Well, then how come he failed to tell us what exactly he’s getting out of it?

    IMO the show is over folks. This doorknob is an officando on the care, feeding and reproduction of crotch lice. Let’s hope he finds a sterile sex partner with the same sick “hobby’ Then they can focus their creepy crawly crotch parasites, while teaching his genital lice some flea circus tricks. I doubt that they will be able to sell tickets to an audience. And, if they do — let’s hope that the fans are carrying a can of RAID!

  15. No, you will always be able to sell tickets to anything kinky and sexual. Not that I would know anything about that, myself. Someone once said if you typed “having sex with goats” into Google it would come back with “what colour of goats?”

  16. And now I can never watch another old Herbie movie again without having odd free association thoughts….

  17. My money is on satire – not because the whole concept is too ridiculous to be real (it isn’t, unfortunately), but because the web site reads like the work of a prepubescent sixth grader whose parents just recently let him discover the Internet. If there were other sites out there espousing the “lousing lifestyle” or whatever he calls it, then maybe – maybe – I would accept that it’s real. But I have a hard time believing that the lone high and noble spokesman of the fetish is some creep who represents himself and his culture by writing “boyz,” “grrls,” and “noobs.”

  18. Like I said previously this Dr. Bugger posted here for the purpose of promoting his blog and he hopes that Bug Girl’s readers will be clicking into his blog. Let’s prove him wrong. ;-)

  19. Except–I think pointing out the (many) errors in what he says on his site is worthwhile.

  20. […] to the all-too-real 83rd Skeptic’s Circle/Carnival. The title is simply irresistible: Pubic Lice: “Sea monkeys in your pants” Speaks for itself, […]

  21. Lyanvis Suzusuke April 1, 2008 at 9:03 pm

    Did you ever end up giving the poor misguided girl an answer to her email?

    or was this your answer?

  22. Oh, we had a VERY long email exchange Lyanvis, ending with her telling me that she contacted me because I was an online bug expert, and that if she had wanted relationship advice, she would have contacted a *different* blogger.

    Presumably another random online person, but one who blogs about relationships.

  23. Phthirus pubis mouthparts are designed to pierce the skin to suck blood, they are similair to a mosquitoes and could not possibly be used to feed on dead skin cells. Selective breeding could not be used to produce a total modification of the mouth parts no more than you could selectively breed a dog to have syringe like mouthparts.

  24. What is the goo called that gives people athlete’s foot. I’m going to market it. It puts viagra to shame.
    But everytime you use it, Got kills a kitten.
    Seerrruusss bidness. reeellly.

  25. archaeologyknits May 5, 2008 at 5:09 pm

    The original poster used terms right from the website, I wouldn’t doubt she is actually associated with the hoax.

  26. […] “Sea Monkeys in Your Pants!” […]

  27. Ummm… Bonzai Kitty?
    Anyone remember that?

    (Only they would’ve never been allowed to sell them, even as spoof… er, i meant proof.) ^_^

  28. […] Link. And a second link, in which Bug Girl receives the purported happy public lice in the mail and… well, you’ll just have to follow the link to find out. […]

  29. …Not to make light of this whole ordeal, but don’t you find it just a tad odd yet highly amusing that you are all argueing over -lice-?

    =^-^= Sorry, I really have nothing more to add. Carry on!

  30. On second thought, upon actually reading the FAQ portion of their sites, I would very much like to make a few statements.

    “Q. What are they called?

    My homeys and I call them the Love Bugz, but I’ve also heard them called crabs, bed bugs, chinches, Nice Lice, and Love lice. “

    Bed bugs are most certainly NOT LICE. “Bed bugs are small, oval, wingless insects that reach about 1/4 inch in length. They belong to the insect family Cimicidae, which includes three species that bite people. Bed bugs have flat bodies and are reddish-brown in color. They may sometimes be mistaken for ticks or small cockroaches. Bed bugs feed by sucking blood from humans or animals. They do not develop wings and cannot fly.” (

    Geeze, can you imagine trying to live with something that large in your hair? I think it would be rather uncomfortably noticable.

    “Q. You’re a FREAK!

    Look Sweety, humans have had body lice since from millions of years ago when we lived in caves until just recently.
    So, who’s the freak? You or me?
    Who’s not living in a ‘natural’ human condition? “

    So by this idea, you’re going to give up medicine, modern conveniences, hygiene and many other things in the name of being “more natural”? We lived with lice for years because we didn’t know any better, not because we liked the ‘natural’ style. Pick up a psychology text, humans by nature are patterned, clean creatures with a few deviants. Also, have we not learned over the years that we have been wrong. Or do you still think maggots appear out of thin air?

    My apologies. I tried to cut this down. >.< I’m ranting now.

  31. To Dr.Bugger:
    Anyone who spells “chihuahua” as chiwowow must be a moron. Any one who takes advise from someone claiming to be a doctor who writes like this is even dumber.

  32. re Q. You’re a FREAK!

    Look Sweety, humans have had body lice since from millions of years ago when we lived in caves until just recently.
    So, who’s the freak? You or me?
    Who’s not living in a ‘natural’ human condition? “

    Based on this assumtion
    All I can say is a handful of dirt a day, keeps the Doctor away. :)

  33. […] thinking of maybe submittingthe “Seamonkeys in your Pants” post, or the follow up, “There are Pubic Lice in my Mailbox.” What do you think?  […]

Comments are closed.