October 12, 2009
Definition of a parasite: something that lives in, with, or on another organism and obtains benefits from the host, which it usually injures.
So thats nice and here are some beauties…
1. The Tongue Eating Parasite On the Greater Weaver fish
There are varying types of tongue eaters across the world some growing up to 4cm [2”]. They are commonly found in temperate waters but some have recently been found off the coast of the UK.
Their working method is to enter the fish via its gills, locate the tongue and clasp themselves to it. They then gorge on the blood from the artery supply. Starved of nourishment the tongue eventually withers away leaving the parasite attached to its stub, in order to maintain its prized position the parasite then behaves like the original organ directing incoming food to the stomach and enjoying the odd bit of fish mucous and blood along the way.
2. Pork Tapeworm
This worm is apparently familiar to neurologists; in some cases where patients have complained of severe headaches and seizures further examination during surgery has found that the problem has actually been caused by a parasite eating the brain. Caught early enough it is possible for a person to make a full recovery, but how does this happen? The theory is that if you eat undercooked pork [that houses the parasite] the worm will locate in your intestine, if you eat food that is tainted with the feces of a person infected with the pork tapeworm – well then this leads to the eggs of the worm traveling in your bloodstream to the brain – or eye – maturing, laying more eggs and feeding.
3. The Human Bot Fly
Native to Central and South America the botfly resembles a bumble bee in size and hairiness. It lays its eggs by capturing a mosquito and attaching the creamy oval shaped eggs to its underside. The mosquito is then released and when feeding on an animal or human the eggs hatch, from the warmth and larvae enter the skin of their new host, leaving a hole in the surface in order to breath. It takes from 6-8 weeks for them to fully develop and drop off.
4. Horsehair Worms
Normally found in water the adults are free living and can grow up to a foot in length. They develop as parasites in the bodies of grasshoppers’ crickets and beetles. What’s interesting is when ready to find a mate they will seemingly take control of their hosts mind and make them leap into the closest pool of water – where they then exit through the anus leaving their host to drown.
5. The Green–banded broodsac
A flatworm found in feces this parasite is picked up by snails as an intermediate host, what it needs though is for the snail to be picked up by a bird, therefore it extends into the snails tentacles changing them into swollen green pulsating tubes – similar looking to a caterpillar. This attracts birds that then eat the snail and the maturing parasite can then start eating on the bird whilst laying eggs that the bird will poo out, which snails will then eat…..
6. The Emerald Jewel Wasp
This wasp first uses her stinger to penetrate a cockroach’s abdomen followed by the same procedure in a specific part of its brain, this results in the roach becoming zombified, allowing the wasp to drag it to her burrow lay her eggs on it, eat the antennae for a spot of lunch and then leave. After a few days the eggs will hatch and begin to consume the roach until they are fully developed and ready to fly off.
7. The Candiru
A tiny parasitic catfish that lives in the Amazon the Candiru or toothpick fish feeds off the blood of larger fish by entering their gills and biting the nearest artery. More disturbingly however it has been known to enter a mans willy whilst peeing in the river, chomping its way up through flesh until too gorged to exit, this being particularly painful for the victim.
8. The Filarial Worm
Spread by Flies and mosquitos these parasites are injected by the thousand in one bite. They take a year to mature in the body where they, depending on type, invade the stomach eyes or lymphatic system, in the latter case causing massive swelling of limbs or genitals commonly known as Elephantitis. In tropical regions as many as 120 million people are infected at any one time.
9. Parasitic Fungi – Cordyceps
Spores of the fungus attach themselves to the ant and enter its body via the tracheae it then begins to feed on the ant’s soft tissue until ready to mature when it will enter the brain and through chemical pheromones cause the ant to climb a plant and clamp onto a stem, from here the fungus kills its host by eating the brain and sprouting spores from the ants head.
10. Leishmaniasis Parasites
Transmitted by the bite of a sand fly – which can contain more than 1000 parasites – and entering into the skin blood and tissues of the human host, this affliction has been dubbed the flesh eating disease as the parasites eat breed and spread throughout the body leaving large lesions and in the worst cases attacking vital organs. The acute versions can take months to be identified and require intensive medical treatment.