Skip to main content
Skip to main menu Skip to spotlight region Skip to secondary region Skip to UGA region Skip to Tertiary region Skip to Quaternary region Skip to unit footer


Kissing bug

UGA researchers study interactions between this ‘kissing bug’ and the deadly parasite it carries. 

By Donna Huber Photography By Ruby Harrison (Postdoc in Drew Etheridge's lab)


At least 7 million people—mostly in Central and South America, but also in the southern United States— are believed to be living with Chagas disease. The parasite Trypansoma cruzi that causes the life-threatening illness is transmitted to humans and animals when an insect commonly called a kissing bug poops on its victim after biting them.

Ruby Harrison, a postdoctoral fellow in Drew Etheridge’s lab in the Center for Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases, wants to better understand the interactions between the parasite and its insect host.

Using the Department of Entomology’s Keyence VHX-7000 Digital Microscope, she imaged the underside of the kissing bug species Panstrongylus megistus. This image clearly shows the three-segmented rostrum, or beak, that kissing bugs use to suck blood from their unfortunate sleeping victims.

The specimen was provided by their collaborator, entomology professor Kevin Vogel, whose lab rears four different kissing bug species.

"Originally appeared at

Support us

We appreciate your financial support. Your gift is important to us and helps support critical opportunities for students and faculty alike, including lectures, travel support, and any number of educational events that augment the classroom experience. Click here to learn more about giving.

Every dollar given has a direct impact upon our students and faculty.

Got More Questions?

Undergraduate Inquiries:

Registration and Credit

AP Credit, Section Changes, Overrides,

Graduate Inquiries:

Contact Us!

Associate Head: 

Dr. Cordula Schulz, 706-542-3515

Main office phone: 706-542-3310

Fax: 706-542-4271

Head of the Department: Dr. Dennis Kyle