AynSavoy wrote:My favorite example is of a parasite that gets eaten, along with grass, by sheep; the sheep then excretes waste containing larvae which gets eaten by snails; the snails leave a sort of slimy goo that looks particularly tasty to ants. One single individual parasite--only one, of the hundreds!--makes its way into the brain of the ant and somehow gets that ant to climb to the top of a blade of grass...which is then eaten by a sheep.
How cool is that?! Ant mind control?!
Lovely, aren't parasites just the coolest things? That reminded me of something I saw in a nature documentary once, Leucochloridium paradoxum
- the larvae are ingested by snails, and then develop into "broodsacs" which move to one of the snails tentacles and pulsate in response to light. The infected snails aren't capable of detecting light as well and therefore don't hide as uninfected snails do, exposing them to predatory birds which are the final hosts in which the parasites develop to adulthood - cue snails consuming bird poop and the whole delicious cycle of life begins anew! The pulsating sacs in the snails tentacle are fascinating and grotesque and defy description, luckily a scrounge on youtube pulled up this rather good clip, check it out: