Pubic lice (or crabs), are on their way to becoming an endangered species, partly thanks to the popularity of bikini waxes and other down-there grooming trends.
Pubic lice (Phthirus pubis) are tiny parasitic insects that live in coarse human body hair, such as pubic hair and are spread through close body contact, most commonly sexual contact.
“It used to be extremely common; it’s now rarely seen,” said Basil Donovan, head of sexual health at the University of New South Wales’s Kirby Institute and a physician at the Sydney Sexual Health Centre. “Without doubt, it’s better grooming."
It's seems to have been a steady march to extinction for pubic lice, correlating closely with the burgeoning trend for genital grooming (notably as seen in the TV series Sex & The City).
Back in 2007, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel broadcast an appeal on behalf of a Dutch museum desperate to obtain a single crab louse for its collection.
Curator Kees Moeliker of the Rotterdam Natural History Museum promised complete anonymity and discretion for any donors who came forward.
He added: "When the bamboo forests that the giant panda lives in were cut down, the bear became threatened with extinction. Pubic lice can't live without pubic hair."
London-based Euromonitor International Ltd estimates the global market for depilatories in the last year to have been worth $4.69billion.
Yet having waxed lyrical about the benefits of staying smooth, one doctor has publicly called for an end to the “war on pubic hair"– by urging us to stop ravaging our nether regions with hair removal products and procedures.
Writing on KevinMD.com, Dr Emily Gibson said: “Pubic hair does have a purpose, providing a cushion against friction that can cause skin abrasion and injury and protection from bacteria.
“The amount of time, energy, money and emotion both genders spend on abolishing hair from their genitals is astronomical.”