Hello /an/. Recently, I've developed an interest in parasitic organisms. What is the most fascinating parasite/parasitoid that you know of?
Hyperparasites and "mind controlling" parasites are neat.
I like Schistasomes(sp?)
They lay barbed eggs that bore through the bladder, hatch in the water, infect snails, and when the snails explode, drill through swimmers legs and set up shop in the portal veins. Only one male and one female worm live in each host.
Mostly exist in India (poo in loo?) And Vietnam.
Dicrocoelium dendriticum is a parasitic fluke with a highly specific life cycle
>Spends adult life in liver of cow
>mates and eggs are excreted in cow feces
>Intermediate host snail consumes infected feces
>Parasite larvae drill through gut wall and live in digestive tract --> juvenile stage
>Snail confines parasites in cysts for defense
>Second intermediate host ant swallows cysts
>parasite spreads around and matures in ant
>one or two parasites target nerve cells and take control of the ants actions
>at night the ant climbs to the top of a blade of grass and clamps on with its mandibles
>Leaves at dawn and goes about normal activities
>Climbs up again at night
>night after night after night
>Grazing animal comes by and eats blade of grass with ant on it
>parasite is back inside host and begins life cycle again