12 parasites can control the behavior of their owners
Many parasites live only at the expense of their owners, while others decide when their owners have to die. But there are those that can change their behavior or physiology of the most fantastic way. We offer you a selection of the 12 most unusual parasite-manipulators.
1. Hymenoepimecis argyraphaga
This unpronounceable name is a parasitic wasp from Costa Rica. She terrorizes spider species Plesiometa argyra. When it comes time to lay eggs, the adult female spider finds, paralyzes it, and then puts the eggs on his stomach. After the wasp larva hatches, it eats its owner, while the spider is doing its work, as if nothing had happened.
Then things get interesting. After a couple weeks of such power in the body of the larva selects host special substances, thereby causing it to create a web, not typical of its kind. Cobweb this special beauty is not different, but extremely durable and can withstand any weather. Then the larva kills the spider with poison and builds a cocoon in the middle of the captured web.
2. Toxoplasma gondii
Rats perfectly know the smell of cat urine and carefully avoid places where it smells. However, if a rat infected with single-celled parasite toxoplasma gondii, it loses its instinctive fear. To make matters worse, the parasite causes the rat to experience sexual attraction towards a disgusting smell. Unicellular doing everything to improve the chances of being eaten rat cat because the cat's body for him - the most favorable environment for reproduction.
3. The lancet fluke
An adult of this species inhabits the liver cows or other livestock. Here he lays her eggs, which fall into the outside world with the feces of the host, and then together with the eggs eaten by snails. Inside their digestive organs hatch into tiny larvae that reproduce asexually. When the larvae are selected on the surface of the body of the snail, the one with consternation secrete mucus, rolls down to the ground, that is, doing exactly what they want from it parasites. Next slime eats the ant, so that the flukes get into his head. At nightfall, they make him come back to the nest, but hang on a blade of grass, and humbly wait for dawn to be eaten by cattle with grass. If an ant at dawn is still alive, the Fluke weaken control and ant spends the day as usual. At night the parasites take control again, and so it goes until the ant still somebody does not eat.
4. Myrmeconema neotropicum
When the nematode Myrmeconema neotropicum enter the ants species Cephalotes atratus, then do something unique - make an ant becomes like a berry. By themselves, these South American ants - black, but they live in tropical forests, where it grows a lot of red berries. The nematode uses this fact and makes the back of the ant's exactly like a red berry. In addition, infected ants become lethargic, making them extremely attractive to fruit-eating birds.
5. Spinochordodes tellinii
This parasite - hair-MetaMorph-infecting grasshoppers and crickets. Adult parasitic worms live and reproduce in water. Grasshoppers and crickets larvae ingest microscopic worms when drinking infested water. Then the larvae develop inside the insect-host. Once they grow up, then injected into the host body chemicals sabotaging the central nervous system of insects. Under their influence, the grasshopper jumps into the nearest body of water, where it drowns. Yes, these parasites cause owners to literally commit suicide. In the water, they leave the former owner, and the cycle begins anew.
Glyptapanteles - a genus of parasitic wasps, often infecting caterpillar species Thyrinteina leucocerae. The cycle begins when the adult wasps lay their eggs inside the caterpillars helpless infants.
Larvae hatch from the eggs and develop within the caterpillar, which grows at this time too. When the larvae grow, then they come out of the caterpillars pupate and next to her. But it seems that in some way they retain their link with the former owner of caterpillar stops eating, it remains close to the parasites, and even covers them with silk. If enough potential predators, the caterpillar will defend by all means pupating wasps.
7. Leucochloridium paradoxum
This parasitic worm spends most of its life in the body of the bird, it seems, really do not mind his presence. Flatworms pass through the entire digestive tract feathered host and leave it with the egg. Chick hatches from the egg, and - you would never guess! - Snail comes and eats the rest of the shell. The larval stage parasites living in the digestive system of the cochlea, where the next stage of developing - sporocysts. They multiply rapidly and enter the eyestalks snails, for some strange reason, preferring the left stalk. As a result, eyestalks become similar to the yellow-green caterpillars, which are so fond of birds.
But that's not all manipulation of the parasite. Snails love the darkness, and the worms are forced to look for her bright areas where the birds catch and eat a snail becomes quite easy.
8. Cordyceps sided
Some species of ants prefer to build their nests in trees and on the ground they descend only in order to find food. The strategy works as long until the fungus Cordyceps-sided. The fungus causes the infected ant to leave his home in the crown of the tree and go down to the lower level, hooked jaws of a leaf or a branch and hang in there until you die. The fungus feeds on ant fabrics - all except the muscles controlling the jaw - and grows inside his dead body. After a couple weeks of fungal spores fall to the ground in order to infect other ants. insects are often infected with Cordyceps lopsided, called "zombie ants."
9. Sacculina carcini
Shells Sacculina carcini begin life as tiny free-swimming larvae, but as soon as they find their crab host, they become much more. The first to colonize the host crustacean female: she clings to the bottom of the crab, forming a bulge in its shell. She then spreads along the entire body korneobraznye host antennae used for the absorption of nutrients.
When the parasite grows, the bulge in the shell is converted into Crab cone. After that, there podselyaetsya male Sacculina carcini, embedded in their partner and produces sperm. After this steam continuously intercourse. As to the unfortunate crab, it is during this time becomes, in fact, a slave. He ceases to grow, and he begins to take care of the eggs of the parasite, as if they were his own. Note that the only parasites attach themselves to the male crab.
During the reign of Sacculina carcini with the male host is something extraordinary. Parasites sterilize it, and then change its body so that it becomes like a female body - extend and align the stomach. Then the body of the crab begins to produce certain hormones and the male crab begins to behave exactly like the female of his kind, even to perform the ritual mating females dancing in front of other males. And, as the female cares for the eggs of "their" parasites.
10. Schistocephalus solidus
After Schistocephalus solidus grow, it starts playing in the intestines of fish-eating water birds. tapeworm eggs to fall into the water in a beautiful package of bird droppings. Then the larvae hatch from the eggs and are absorbed by the small crustaceans called copepods, and they in turn feed on sticklebacks. Once inside the fish, the worm starts to operate at full capacity. First, he makes the fish to find warmer waters, where it will grow faster. And the worm grows with the owner. In some cases, it can grow so much that would weigh more than his own master.
When it comes time to "move" in the birds belly, the worm causes the stickleback become bolder and swim alone, away from other fish of their own species, which makes it more attractive prey for fish-eating birds.
11. Euhaplorchis californiensis
Life worm Euhaplorchis californiensis begins in horns snail that inhabits in salt water marshes of Southern California. Worms host sterilized and then produce it in several generations of offspring, and then forced to go in search of snail fish killifish.
Once the parasite finds a new owner, he clings to his gills, and then makes its way through the body of the fish killifish to her brain, then ensnares him with her body. Here he highlights the chemicals to gain control of the central nervous system of fish.
The infected killifish perform complex dance, culminating in a spectacular fish jumping out of the water. Of course, a fish much more likely to be eaten by birds.
After that, everything happens according to the familiar pattern: the infected birds lay eggs, shell eat snails, and everything is repeated.
12. Heterorhabditis bacteriophora
Heterorhabditis bacteriophora - this nematode, whose behavior is somewhat different from the above parasites. Instead of pushing their owners to predators legs, they, on the contrary, are forced to retreat hungry predators. When the nematode affects insect larvae, then gradually change its host's body color from white to red. This color warns predators that the larva is dangerous: experimental studies have confirmed that a robin, for example, avoid eating brightly colored insects. The parasite lives in the larva and feeds at its expense, so it is extremely disadvantageous to a host that something has happened, because in this case he also dies.