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No need to fear this ‘dangerous’ insect

A Facebook post shared over 30,000 times warns against stepping on a certain insect, or the entire sole of your foot will be punctured with holes.

The warning was posted by a user whose profile shows he is from Ilorin, the capital of Kwara state in western Nigeria. He claims the dangerous insect is “everywhere” in the country.

The message reads: “Pls [please], don't kill this insect wit [with] yr [your] foot. As u [you] can see from d [the] image. It is everywhere in the country. Don't ignore dis [this] message but share to save lives.”

Two photos are shown: a supposedly diseased foot and an odd-looking insect.

Image of foot widely circulated

A Google search for the image of the foot shows that it’s popped up on a number of places online. It’s included in images of effects created with makeup on different parts of the human body on

The image and others like it have been used a number of times in reference to trypophobia, the fear of clusters of small holes. This includes a random July 2016 post on Imgur, an online image sharing community, posted to trigger trypophobia.

Hoax is three years old

Snopes has debunked a similar hoax that used a photo of a supposedly diseased hand covered with holes on the palm. The fact-check traced the origin of the hoax to its appearance online in January 2016.

Another version, debunked in video by Hoax Factor, falsely claimed that the US Center for Disease Control website had said “the virus spreads to the place of the bodily contact and circulates the entire human system in minutes”.

Online videos show how trypophobia-triggering effects can be created on different parts of the body by makeup artists.

Insect carrying eggs on its back

The insect in the post has been identified as a male giant water bug carrying its eggs on its back.

Scientists have found that female giant water bugs lay their eggs on the back of the male, which carries them for protection until they hatch.

There is no evidence that the insect or its eggs can harm people. - Allwell Okpi (27/03/2019)


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