Evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne got all soft inside when he thought about how the botfly larva in his scalp was eating his tissue and turning it into a new organism. It was of him, like a child. His friend Sarah Rogerson was a little less charmed, and they both were surprised by the creature that ultimately emerged from his head.
And Tom Eisner, professor of chemical ecology, loved bugs from earliest childhood, kept them in his room to keep him company when his family found themselves living in South America, bug paradise. He knew them well enough to classify them by how they smelled. These days, as he told Robert at the 92nd St Y, his subjects live for sometimes years, well-cared for in his lab, partners in his work decoding chemical signals to reach across the communication divide, trying to shorten the distance between coexisting organisms.