Somehow that reminded me of our unofficial state motto and our own cringe-worthy species: “New Mexico: Land of the flea, home of the plague.” (I used to have the bumper sticker.) I think Arizona adopted that motto too.
I vividly remember waking up one early morning on a day I was supposed to take a long flight overseas with excruciating pain and what I thought was tinnitus in one of my ears. I got up in a slight panic, expecting to have to see a doctor to get it checked out before heading to the airport. As I was splashing some water in my face and shaking my head in hopes of making it better, I looked up in the mirror just in time to see a somewhat drowsy ladybug crawling out of my ear. Presumably it was looking for a cozy warm place to sleep and my movement disturbed its slumber. Now I cringe every fall when they come inside in droves for the winter. Invading our houses is one thing, but invading my ear canal - that’s a big NO from me.
I actually love leeches, living not in tropics and seeing them not too much helps with that (but I actually seek after them). I find Hippoboscidae quite disturbing because of their elusiveness on your head, they have strange-looking abdomen, they’re almost impossible to kill or just to catch, and somehow I still have zero observations of them. Otherwise I don’t think I don’t like anything, there’re groups you don’t wanna touch you because e.g. they live and eat on carrion or have a big list of possible decieses on them, but that doesn’t make them worse animals, it’s like having a distance between you and a tiger.
I actively like spiders & don’t mind centipedes / millipedes / silverfish or any other creepy-crawly. Except for cockroaches. I can just about deal with the small ones, but the big ones, what in NYC we call waterbugs or Croton bugs, elicit a scream that apparently doesn’t sound like any other noise I’ve ever made & that brings my wife running with shoe held high.
As for that fish-tongue-eating parasite, I only hope never to encounter one.
Personally I feel that it’s important to acknowledge the human perspective of nature. There will never be an unbiased view, so we may as well acknowledge the biases and fears in hopes of better understanding them.
From a certain perspective, every living thing is only trying to survive, from kittens to bubonic plague. All value and all categorization we give to life is through a human lens whether you like it or not.
Personally the only thing that turns my stomach are some specific endoparasites. As much as I think their adaptations are excellent and smart, my gut can’t handle actually looking and video recordings or detailed descriptions.
I also tend to ‘cringe’ at excessive lawns and invasive plants (english ivy, creeping buttercup, scots broom, japanese knotweed, Himalayan blackberry (see im going on a tangent just talking about them))
Surprised nobody mentioned the chigoe flea (Tunga penetrans). There are 23 observations on iNat, but I can’t stand looking at them, so I’m not going to link to them. Suffice it to say, YECHHH! I’d rather have a tick, or even a leech, and that’s the truth!