'Crabs' Now Endangered Thanks to Bikini Waxing

Brazilian waxes, in particular, destroy the habitat of pubic lice

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 14, 2013 2:25 PM CST

(Newser) – Will we soon see a "Save the Pubic Lice" campaign? The groin-dwelling insects, more commonly known as "crabs" because of their shape, are now basically an endangered species—and doctors think the popularity of bikini waxing may be to blame (er, thank). In Australia, no women have been seen with crabs at Sydney's main sexual health clinic since 2008, and male cases have fallen 80% over the past 10 years. "Pubic grooming has led to a severe depletion of crab louse populations," says a medical entomologist. "You can see an environmental disaster in the making for this species."

Of course, no one's really mourning the loss. Another medical entomologist notes that, in this case, "habitat destruction is a good thing." So-called Brazilian waxes, in particular, are seen as contributing to the downfall of pubic lice, since nearly all the pubic hair—the habitat, in this case—is removed in that procedure. All in all, more than 80% of US college students remove some or all of their pubic hair these days, Bloomberg reports. It's arguably a nicer way of dealing with the crabs problem, since the typical treatment is a topical insecticide.

Pubic lice   (Shutterstock)
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