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  • what if the zombie apocalypse didn't come from a virus, but from crickets, scientists have recently uncovered how in mind controlling parasite infiltrates.

  • These insects takes over their minds and drives them into harm's way.

  • Could humans be the next host for this parasite?

  • Hair worms are the parasites that hijacked crickets and force them to engage in suicidal behaviors.

  • The name itself is pretty disgusting and rightfully so hair worms enter an unsuspecting cricket as a small larva and then grow within the insect's body.

  • As the world grows longer and longer, it hijacks the crickets nervous system and forces the insect it do its bidding.

  • And if that wasn't scary enough, one species of hair worm can grow up to six ft long.

  • Those six ft species of hair worm infects much larger insects or so, scientists believe, as they are not entirely sure what the hosts are for such large hair worms.

  • For right now we're pretty sure the hosts are not human, but who knows what the future may hold.

  • How does the hair worm infect and control its host?

  • And should we be worried about these parasites making humans their next target.

  • The scientific name for the cricket infecting hair worms is para gordy a strike.

  • As bad as the main reason they have evolved to infect and control crickets is to help them find water when it was scarce so they can reproduce.

  • The parasites can only mate in watery environments and they cannot move very far on their own, especially on land.

  • The solution that hair worms have evolved to exploit is wrapping their long slimy bodies around the insides of crickets and driving them to the closest water source.

  • Crickets tend to stay far away from water.

  • They can easily drown or worse be eaten by aquatic predators.

  • So in order to force crickets to travel to these dangerous areas, the hair worm must take over the insect's body and mind crickets, like all living things, need water to survive instead of obtaining it from dangerous rivers or ponds where they make it eaten.

  • Crickets tend to acquire their H 20 from dewdrops plants and other smaller insects that they eat.

  • If the crickets consume something that has been infected with the hair worm, larva, it's the beginning of the end for that insect, hair worms lay their eggs in the water, they sink to the bottom and line dormant until they're eaten by the larvae of other insects.

  • As these bugs grow, they carry the dormant parasite with them.

  • The hair worm will not hatch and grow in these insects.

  • It wait for a larger bug than it can control.

  • As the unknowing carrier of the parasite continues its life cycle, they bring the hair worm with them.

  • Inevitably, some are eaten by unlucky crickets.

  • When this happens, the hair worm larvae become active and all hell breaks loose.

  • Once a cricket, small as a hair worm, larva, a mysterious process begins, The worm hatches and makes its way out of the digestive system of the cricket and into the circulatory system where it can start mooching nutrients from its host to help it grow.

  • The hair worm doesn't want to consume all the crickets nutrients as it needs the host to be healthy for when it takes over its mind later and forces the cricket to do its bidding.

  • The hair worm lies in wait within the cricket and takes in nutrients directly through its skin because it doesn't have a mouth.

  • It then grows and grows and grows snaking its way through the cricket's body and taking over a central areas.

  • This is where things get really weird and why you should be worried about these nasty parasites.

  • There is no indication that a hair worm has taken over a cricket.

  • This is a scary thought as an infected cricket will act totally normal until the parasites ready to reproduce and forces its host to engage in suicidal behavior.

  • Once the hair worm finishes growing inside of the cricket, it takes over the nervous system and makes a slight change the crickets behavior, the parasite forces the cricket to stop chirping.

  • This is probably because chirping can attract predators, and if the cricket host gets eaten, the hair worm gets eaten along with it.

  • Therefore, once the parasite has control, it immediately turns off the chirping behavior to conserve energy and keep its host from being eaten by a predator as the parasite wraps itself around more and more of the organs within the cricket, it takes its mind controlling to the next level.

  • A regular cricket will stay far away from running water as it's biologically programmed to know that water contains predators and that it's not the best swimmer.

  • However, the parasite needs to reach the water in order to reproduce.

  • So it sends signals to the cricket's brain that convinces the host that water is exactly what the cricket needs and that there's no danger at all.

  • However, nothing could be further from the truth.

  • Using the sensory systems of the cricket, the hair worm forces it to seek out water.

  • It most likely does this by hijacking the antenna and retinal systems to steer the cricket in the right direction.

  • Scientists believe the hair worm releases chemical signals that make light incredibly attractive to the crickets.

  • Since water tends to reflect the light from the moon, stars and sun, the cricket becomes attracted to the liquid by forcing the cricket's brain to move the host toward the reflecting light.

  • The hair worm is brought closer and closer to its goal.

  • The cricket is driven by its parasite to jump into the water.

  • This is where things get really gross.

  • Once its host is in the water, the hair worm needs to get out.

  • It bores a hole into the cricket's exoskeleton and slides it's now foot long body out of the tiny insect, it must come as a somewhat relief to the cricket as it slowly regains control of its body.

  • It also must be terrifying for the cricket as it wakes up from a horrible nightmare only to find itself in a hostile environment.

  • The crazy thing is that crickets often survive this amplification process and once the parasite leaves their body, they can continue living the rest of their life normally.

  • However, since water is full of danger, not all crickets are so lucky, It's also worth noting that although it's normally only one hair worm per host, this is not always the case.

  • Sometimes a cricket can be infected with two or three worms.

  • Once in the water, all three will spring up from the inside of the cricket and squirm their way into their new home.

  • And if that wasn't gross enough, scientists have recorded a single cricket ejecting 32 worms from its body.

  • This host obviously didn't survive the encounter as it was literally torn apart from the inside, as the hair worms wriggled their way out.

  • Once the parasite is done with its host, it does not care whether the cricket survives or not.

  • Sometimes the cricket can make it out of the water alive.

  • Other times it can't.

  • But the hair worm is done with the host now and has a new mission.

  • The hair worm swims around its new home looking for a mate to reproduce with.

  • If a male is lucky enough to find a female, it inseminated her and it's life is complete.

  • The sole purpose of life for the hair worm as well as many other organisms is to find a mate and reproduce.

  • Once the male hair worm has made it, it immediately dies.

  • This might seem unfortunate to us, but the hair worm has accomplished everything it needed to its life.

  • The female continues on swimming and can lay approximately 15 million eggs which are secreted into underwater pebbles, sticks and other debris.

  • After she lays all her eggs, the female hair worm dies as well about two weeks after the eggs are laid and both parents are dead.

  • The new batch of hair worm larvae hatch and begin their journey to infect other crickets.

  • So the whole process can begin again.

  • At this point, you're probably pretty grossed out, but it only gets worse.

  • You may be wondering how we know so much about hair worms and they're hijacking of crickets.

  • It's because scientists have been studying them in their labs were not saying mad scientists are cooking up a mind controlling parasite that might lead to the zombie apocalypse.

  • But it is a crazy world we live in.

  • So maybe we should just be prepared in case what scientists are actually doing is studying how exactly the hair worm parasite controls its host.

  • This is not the only parasite that hijacks the host's mind to do its bidding.

  • For example, in the Costa Rican jungles, there's a wasp that lays its eggs within the abdomen of orb spiders.

  • The larvae begin to eat the spider from the inside and when the wasp babies are strong enough, they release a chemical that forces the spider to build a unique type of web that the wasp larvae will use to build their cocoons in after they finish consuming their spider host.

  • Some parasites, like the land set liver fluke flatworms infect multiple hosts.

  • This parasite first lives in the livers of grazing animals such as cows.

  • Its eggs are eventually pooped out where they wait patiently in the excrement for an unsuspecting snail to eat them.

  • The lancet liver flukes eggs then hatch inside of the snail and force it to create protective cysts made of mucus for the larvae to live in which the snail later excretes from its body.

  • The larvae contained in the protective mucus of the snail, are then eaten by ants.

  • The parasite makes its way through the ant's body and takes over their brain.

  • It forces the ant declined to the top of a blade of grass and remain motionless until it's consumed by a grazing animal.

  • So the whole process can start again.

  • These are just some of the many parasites that have scientists on edge.

  • It's not out of the realm of possibility that someday a parasite might evolve to infect and zombified humans.

  • The ability of one organism to gain control of another organism's mind is a truly scary thought, but it is happening all of the time around the world.

  • This brings us back to what scientists have actually discovered about how the hair worms control their cricket hosts.

  • The worms seem to be producing large amounts of neurotransmitters, which allow the parasite to trigger different signals between the hosts brain cells.

  • These neurotransmitters are most likely what allows the hair worms to force crickets into doing what they want by understanding how hair worms control crickets.

  • Scientists have a better idea of how other parasites control their hosts.

  • This is not only important to understand for unlocking the mysteries of the world around us, but this research can also become helpful in the future, especially if humans ever find themselves infected by a brain controlling parasite of our own.

  • It's important to remember that the mind controlling parasites of the insect world evolved through natural processes.

  • It took millions of years.

  • But the parasitic relationship that hair worms have exploited occurred through natural selection.

  • The benefits of understanding how the neurotransmitters secreted by parasites, like the hair worms actually influence a host's brain, could lead to untold discoveries.

  • It can also save the human species from untold horrors like zombie fication.

  • For right now, there are no known parasites that can take over a human's brain and force them to do their will.

  • But what about in the future?

  • The processes of evolution are always occurring and it might not be too long until one of those mind controlling parasites finds a way to exploit the human brain.

  • Then again, it's also very unlikely this would occur within our lifetime, but it's always good to keep pushing our scientific understanding of the natural world forward so that we can be ready if the zombie apocalypse ever does occur due to mind controlling parasites.

  • Now watch us Military actually has a zombie plan.

  • This is it con plant 88 88 or check out most painful parasites that infect humans.

what if the zombie apocalypse didn't come from a virus, but from crickets, scientists have recently uncovered how in mind controlling parasite infiltrates.

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Real Reason Crickets are Killing Themselves is Actually Terrifying

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    林宜悉 posted on 2021/12/01
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