MEMPHIS, TN - Field entomologists report what many are labelling an "earth-shattering" new discovery in Memphis, Tennessee. A new insect of unknown origin, tentatively labeled Insectidae odioformis horribilis, has been discovered in a wood shed behind the house of Memphis resident Paul James McClancy, and scientists believe it may be the world's worst insect.
"We need to run more tests, but I'm fairly confident the results will confirm what we already suspect," said a visibly shaken Dr. Clarissa O'Toole, a leading entomologist from MIT, "that this creature is simply the worst insect in the world."
Dr. O'Toole stated that she believed the previous contender for the title, the Peruvian Pyroclasm Spider (Arachnidae Peruviensis ignogenesii, or "el pinche diablito") which received international recognition in 1844 after an infestation nearly destroyed most of London, is outclassed on every level by O. horribilis.
"While I hate los diablitos as much as any other organism that prefers not being on fire," Dr. O'Toole explained, "they at least only laid a few hundreds eggs a year, and had some bodily symmetry. O. horribilis is just so much worse."
One of the most salient characteristics of O. horribilis is its constant, aggressive asexual reproduction, by which a single individual can infest an entire town in a matter of weeks. "A mature adult of the species is constantly laying eggs," says Dr. O'Toole. "If you can call those... things eggs," she added, shuddering.
O. horribilis is composed largely of eyes, pincers, and legs protruding from a gelatinous goo that seems somehow to form its carapace. A mature specimen may have up to three hundred legs, according to Dr. O'Toole and her colleagues, and nearly twice as many eyes.
"They watch you," explains Dr. O'Toole. "All of them." She added, her voice quivering, "It's like it knows."
The behavior of O. horribilis is described as "extremely aggressive." "It possesses a pair of very strong legs," said Dr. O'Toole, "and while, thank god, O. horribilis does not have wings, it can jump nearly five feet from a standing position." It seems to instinctively target the eyes of mammalian organisms, which it will attempt to penetrate and lay eggs in at every opportunity, although O. horribilis displays no other parasitic behaviors and its eggs are capable of surviving even in the vacuum of space. "It seems to prefer humans," said Dr. O'Toole, who then excused herself, citing the need to puke.
While smaller than the Peruvian pyroclasm spider, O. horribilis is a highly eusocial insect, preferring to group together in large swarms of between 100-1,000 individuals. These swarms display synchronized behavior, and will attack other organisms en masse. "They are very persistent," noted Dr. O'Toole's colleague Samantha Miller, a graduate student in MIT's entomology program. "Especially with humans. O. horribilis swarms have been seen to pursue farmers for hours, and seem to prioritize this pursuit over all self-preservation instincts."
The sole factor seeming to limit O. horribilis's rate of population growth is its hunger for diseased flesh, described by sources as "rapacious." "The species prefers to burrow in large masses of necrotic and decaying tissue," said Miller, "which makes Memphis, and really, Tennessee in general a very inviting area for obvious reasons.
Dr. O'Toole is calling on the federal government to eliminate the species "by any means necessary." "I wouldn't suggest nuclear carpet-bombing of Tennessee and all neighboring states just to be sure," said O'Toole, "but I couldn't really argue with it either."
At press time, a sound like thousands of jtiny bodies slamming themselves against a window again and again could be heard in Dr. O'Toole's office.
Sergei Bogdanov is Approved News 6's higher education correspondent. Born in Kaliningrad, Russia, Bogdanov emigrated to America with his family in 1989 to escape the prophesied Third Bonewraith Rampage, and in 2004 graduated top of his class from the University of Oregon School of Journalism. He is currently the Charles J. Bloodhorn Chair of Applied Sociology at Yale University, and lives in the Great Connecticut Undercroft with his legions of sycophantic grad students.