It's no Halloween joke when animals get infected with mind-altering, zombie parasites.
Batul Nafisa Baxamusa
The animal world is far scarier than it seems. There are terrible creatures that hijack the minds of other animals and make them their slaves. Get ready to take a peek into the horror-filled world of mind controlling animal parasites.
Mind C0tntolling Animal Parasites
Ophiocordyceps unilateralis commonly called as zombie ant fungus. The only aim of this fungus is self-propagation and dispersal of spores.
Zombie Ant fungus
The spores of this deadly fungi attach themselves to the exoskeleton of the ant. It starts taking over the ant's behavior and compels it to leave its nest. The ant wonders to a place which is humid and warm, favorable for the fungi growth.
The ant is being eaten on the inside as it hangs onto a leaf in a zombie-like state till its death. The fungi launches a fruiting body from within the shriveled ant exoskeleton.
It shoots new spores into the environment ready to infect new ants and turn them into the walking dead.
This parasite also known as the jewel wasp, emerald wasp or the emerald cockroach wasp turns cockroaches into zombies! All because it needs to propagate its young using the roache's body as a source of nutrient!
The female jewel wasp mates only once in her lifetime. Once she is ready with fertilized eggs by the dozen, she starts searching for a cockroach. She does it by using sound and sight.
Finding the cockroach is not difficult. Getting him under her control is. It's like a movie. She has to take over the cockroach much bigger in size and strength. She needs to attack right at the thorax to inject her paralyzing venom.
Next, she moves up to inject another neurotoxin that blocks the will of the cockroach to take flight. The wasp guides the cockroach into a hole. She lays an egg on the roach and builds a wall of stones around him. Then she flies off to find another victim.
The larvae devours the hemolymph, organs and finally the nervous system. What's eerie to note the cockroach is alive as the larvae eats it for sustenance until its death. It even lives in its empty shell until it turns into an adult wasp.
No fish wants this freeloader in its mouth. This is because Cymothoa exigua or the Tongue-eating louse tends to become a part of the fish body. Scary! Having no control over the parasite, the fish becomes a slave of this isopod.
The Tongue-eating louse enters the fish through its gills. It reaches its mouth and severs the nerves to the tongue. This causes necrosis and the tongue falls off. Ouch! The parasite then takes up the role of the tongue in the mouth.
Apart from this there is no other harm to the fish. Some tongue-eating louse suck the fish blood, some survive on the fish mucus. Once the malnourished fish dies, C. exigua detaches itself and moves out of the fish, clinging to the dead fish externally.
An attack of the zombie fly that could lead to an apocalypse in the bumble bee, honey bee, and the paper wasps colony. The Apocephalus borealis or the zombie fly is a parasitoid phorid fly. The bees or wasps under its control turn into zombies!
The female zombie fly lays eggs in the abdomen of the bee or wasp. The larvae hatch and begin feeding on the abdomen and thorax of the host. The pupate emerges outside the host body and it takes 28 days to complete the parasites' life cycle.
The infected bee becomes disoriented and looses its ability to stand. It becomes inactive during the day and abandons its nest at night. They soon die alone away from their nest.
These parasites are masters of controlling the minds of their hosts. They make them their slaves, and use their bodies for reproduction, as well as for sustenance.
It may sound like a sci-fi movie, yet, it is pretty real and spine-chilling. I hope this web story gave you a little insight into the secret world of mind-controlling animal parasites.