1. Replaces fish tongues- Cymothoa exigua

This parasitic crustacean feasts on the blood of the spotted rose snapper fish by attaching to its tongue. After several days the tongue atrophies and falls off. Instead of leaving the poor fishy tongue-less the parasite attaches itself to the muscular base of the tongue and serves as a replacement. Since the fish can use the parasite as it would an actual tongue the only negative effect for the fish is a small loss of food, which is eaten by the parasite. C. exigua is the only known parasite that functionally replaces a host's organ. Although this parasite is usually found off the coast of California it was recently found in the United Kingdom, most likely indicating that its range is expanding.

2. Causes Grasshoppers to commit suicide- Spinochordodes tellinii (Hairworm)

The larva of this parasite develops inside of grasshoppers and crickets. It usually grows to be about three times the length of its host. Once matured it injects proteins into the host's brain which affect neurotransmitters and causes the host to seek out and jump into water. Once in the water the hairworm leaves the host dead or dying in the water to search for a mate. It is still unknown exactly how the small larvae make it into grasshoppers but one hypothesis is that the worms lay their eggs on mosquitoes and that when these mosquitoes die they are eaten by the grasshoppers.

3. Increases the sex drive of women- Toxoplasma gondii

This parasitic protozoan usually finds its home in cats but as it matures it can move to birds and other mammals, including humans. It makes it way into humans through the fecal-oral route or in undercooked meat. Once in humans they cause a toxoplasma infection. This is usually asymptomatic but may have early flu-like symptoms. Although this infection is usually self-limiting it can turn into the much more dangerous toxoplasmosis in the immunocompromised. Also, if T.gondii is ingested during pregnancy the parasite can cross the placenta, infect the growing brain of the fetus and cause a spontaneous abortion. Interestingly, the parasite has recently been shown to change the behavior of its hosts. For example, it causes rodents to be attracted to the scent of cats rather than to be fearful. There is also evidence which indicates that T. gondii also affects the behavior of its human hosts, making them more prone to neuroticism, anxiety and depression. Recent data also indicates an increase in the sex drive of women and a decrease in IQ and attention span of men who are infected.

4. Enslaves crabs- Sacculina

The genus Sacculina made up of parasitic barnacles which attack crabs. Female parasites enter crab armor by molting and injecting their soft body through an open joint. Once inside her new home she starts to grow root like appendages that extend into every part of the crabs body, even wrapping around its eyestalks. If the crab is male the parasite will change its body form to more closely resemble that of a female's so that the parasite can more comfortably house her family. When everything is ready the female parasite squeezes a sack out of the underside of the crab so that the male can join her permanently. They will mate and allow their eggs to mature inside the crab, which is now completely possessed and devotes all of its energy to caring for the parasite family.

5. Uses roach as surrogate mother- Ampulex compressa (Emerald Cockroach Wasp)

This parasitic wasp is found in tropical regions of the world. When ready to lay eggs the female wasp stings unsuspecting cockroaches twice, first in the thorax to temporarily paralyze its front legs and next she delivers venom directly into the ganglia to permanently change its behavior. The roach becomes sluggish and loses its normal escape responses allowing the wasp to drag it by one antenna to her burrow. The wasp then lays her eggs in the cockroach's abdomen. The tamed roach will rest in the wasp's burrow until the eggs inside hatch and the larvae begin to chew their way out. About four weeks after the eggs are laid fully grown wasps emerge from the roach carcass.

6. The cause of elephantiasis- Wuchereria bancrofti (Filarial worms)

These thread-like parasites are transmitted from one person to another by mosquitoes. The embryos can sense the onset of night and use it as a cue to creep closer to the surface of the skin in order to increase the likelihood they are picked up by a mosquito. Once inside a mosquito the embryos become larvae which are injected back into human hosts when the mosquito feeds. Filarial larvae and mature worms make their home in the lymphatic system. The first symptom, swollen lymph nodes, usually exhibits several years after transmission but soon progresses to elephantiasis, a gross expansion of the body usually in the lower extremities and genitalia. Although there are oral medications that can kill W.bancrofti if not treated early it can lead to death.

7. The worlds most complicated lifecycle- Dicrocoelium dendriticum (lancet fluke)

The lancet fluke finds its way into snails while they are feeding on cow feces. The fluke remains in the snail until it matures into a tad-pole like creature, which is literally coughed out by the snail in a coating of thick mucus. This mucus is considered a delicacy for ants but after feeding on the infested mucus they become the new hosts. Once infected the ants leave their colony every night to attach themselves bottom side up to a tall blade of grass with their clamping mandibles. It waits in this manner until it is finally eaten by a cow. Once the ant has been ingested the parasite breaks out and swims through the digestive tract until it reaches its new home, the bile duct. From here new eggs are released and allowed to exit through the digestive tract inside the feces, which will then be eaten by snails to continue the cycle.

8. Decorate the tentacles of snails- Leucochloridium varidaecx

Snails and birds are the two host organisms for this parasitic worm. Once in the body of the snail the worm sprouts tube into the snail's tentacles causing them to swell, pulsate and take on a brilliant color. Due to the enlargement of its tentacles the snail cannot retreat into its shell and is forced to meander around with caterpillar like tentacles which attract birds. When spotted by a bird the tentacles are ripped off and eaten. Inside the bird the parasite can reproduce and is scattered by bird droppings, which are then eaten by snails to continue the cycle.

9. Lays larvae under skin- Oestridae (botfly)

It is actually the larvae of these hairy flies that are considered to be parasites. Botflies deposit their eggs under the skin of many different mammals, including humans. The eggs hatch almost immediately upon contact with warm skin and begin to burrow, feeding off flesh until they are mature enough eat there way out of the host. There are approximately 150 species of botfly worldwide.

10. Killer fungi- Cordyceps

There are about 400 known species of this genus of parasitic fungi. Each type uses a different species of insect as a host. After a Cordycep spore finds its way into an insect it replaces all tissue with fungus. Although parasites don't kill their hosts, cordyceps can be considered a parasite because before they kill the hosts it affects their behavior, such as causing ants to climb and attach themselves to a tall plant in order to improve the dissemination of their spores. Cordyceps are usually found in tropical areas.


Source: http://www.anglingmasters.com

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Date: 7 Sep 2008 | Author: mesmerX | Category: News, Videos, Pictures | Views: 11769

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Comments: 5

Wieners tongue

Da haste dir aber viel mühe gegeben
Den Eiger in 2,47 Stunden zu besteigen währe wohl vor 70Jahren nicht moeglich gewesen
Respekt Ueli Steck!

No fucking pictures...amateurs

this is the most amusing but informative thing i've read online for ages!
thanks :)
although i probably should get back to my biology research lesson now ;)

smile i love this web site thansk it teach me a lot

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