Many of you know me as @theleechguy, and, to be fair, my students and I have spent the last 2 decades working intensively on the systematics, biodiversity, phylogeny, and now salivary genomics of these charismatic ectoparasites. It's a bit odd how that all happened. When I started in Sherwin's laboratory in 1988 as an undergraduate, he gave me the task of trying to solve the life cycle of Lankesterella minima: an intra-erythrocytic parasite of frogs, and an odd one at that. The sexual development was already known to occur in endothelial cells of internal organs of frogs, which is to say, not in a vector like malaria parasites, but how it got from frog to frog was a mystery. Sherwin asked me to solve it. He figured it was too risky for a graduate student's thesis, that failure would not ruin an undergraduate student's career, and that I'd...

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