Beware of New Killer Insect from India-Fiction!
Summary of eRumor:
Warnings have gone viral about a new killer insect from India carrying a virus that circulates the entire human body within minutes.
Reports of a new killer insect found in India are false.
In fact, a photo of a scary looking insect that has accompanied the new killer insect warning on social media posts and discussion boards is nothing more than a giant water bug carrying eggs on its back.
The photo first appeared on the Project Noah website, which was designed to help document wildlife discoveries of “citizen scientists.” This particular water bug was found and photographed in shallow waters of the Delaware Creek (not in India).
The giant water bug does not transmit a virus that circulates the human body within minutes, as the warning claims. But they deliver a painful bite using their clawed front feet and an enzyme injected into the flesh of their victims:
Although not really dangerous, the Giant Water Bug can give one a nasty bite. One person described the bite as very painful, causing the finger and whole hand to swell up dramatically, to the point where they lost all use of the hand, and remaining thus for about two weeks. If you are going to handle this insect, it should be done with care.
And the photo of hand covered in tiny holes that accompanies these warnings was created using special effects makeup. A YouTube video describes how it took an amateur artist hours using skin wax and peanut butter to create the scaled effect on one of their hands.
So, don’t take warnings about a new killer insect from India to heart, they’re false.