Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • From parasites that pop ant's heads off, to making animal-computer-hybrid robots, here

  • are 10 of the most fascinating cases of mind control in nature.

  • 10.)

  • Euhaplorchis Californiensis The Euhaplorchis Californiensis is a parasite

  • that is primarily found in southern California.

  • These parasites live on the gut of shorebirds.

  • Once the very tiny eggs of these parasites develop, they are released into the waters

  • through the shorebirds' feces.

  • These eggs will live and develop into larva if they are swallowed up by snails.

  • Once the larvae reach a certain stage, they are able to escape the snails which is when

  • they then find killifish.

  • They continue to live in the brain of the killifish, where the parasites begin to control

  • the killifish's activity.

  • Once in the brain, the mind control begins.

  • The parasites make the killifish swim to the surface of the ocean where they will swim

  • in circles.

  • This makes it easy for the shorebirds to see the killifish, catch them, and then eat them.

  • Once the shorebirds have eaten an infected killifish, the cycle begins again!!

  • 9.)

  • Acacia Trees Ants and acacia trees have had a relationship

  • for generations.

  • For the longest time, people just assumed this is how it was and no one really looked

  • into the reasoning for this relationship.

  • That was until some scientists discovered that the relationship is actually more one

  • sided than what people have previously thought.

  • On the outside, this relationship looks to be a win-win for both the ants and the trees.

  • The acacia trees provide the ants with food and hollow thorns, which can be used as nests

  • for the ants.

  • In return, the ants protect the acacia trees from herbivores.

  • Further research has shown that the ants also keep bacteria away from the leaves of the

  • acacia trees, which helps keep the trees overall good health.

  • However, continued research from scientists has shown that there is a bit of manipulation

  • from the acacia trees to help keep this relationship strong.

  • It turns out that the food the ants eat from the acacia trees actually contains a chemical

  • which will change their brain chemicals and put the ant into a defensive mode; making

  • them more likely to protect the acacia trees.

  • 8.)

  • Phorid Flies Phorid flies are very tiny flies that love

  • to take over ants.

  • Over 20 species of Pseudacteon flies are known to take over fire ants in South America.

  • As an adult they are about the size of an ant's head.

  • The female fly attacks the ant to insert anywhere from 100 to 300 of its eggs into its thorax.

  • Once the eggs hatch, the larvae move to the head of the ant, take over their minds and

  • then pop off their head from the inside.

  • This is why they are also called ant-decapitating flies.

  • The larva keeps its host functioning and stays in the relative safety of the colony.

  • Then when the maggot is ready, it makes the ant leave the colony and die in a humid, cool

  • place.

  • It releases a chemical that dissolves the ant's membranes, causing the ant's head

  • to fall off.

  • The larva then begins to pupate inside the head, and when it's ready, a new ant-decapitating

  • fly crawls out of the ant's mouth.

  • Spooky right??

  • These flies are now being brought into the US to control the population of black and

  • red fire ants that have started to invade and cause millions of dollars worth of damage

  • to agriculture.

  • So if you see a bunch of severed ants heads, you'll know why!!

  • And now for number 7 but first be sure you are subscribed before you leave.

  • We have lots of new videos coming up! 7.)

  • The Alcon Blue Butterfly There is a beautiful parasitic butterfly which

  • is known to fool ants.

  • These butterflies are called the Alcon blue butterfly and before they turn into butterflies,

  • they manipulate ants into taking care of them.

  • They basically do this in the same way that the Toxoplasma Gondii parasite in mice fools

  • cats.

  • When the Alcon blue butterfly is still in the caterpillar stage, the caterpillar has

  • a smell on its outer coat which attracts the ants to it.

  • The ants actuallytastethis smell when their antenna touches the coat of the butterfly.

  • This smell can actually make the ants believe that the caterpillar is one of their own larvae.

  • The caterpillar is usually brought back to the ant colony where the ants are duped into

  • feeding the caterpillars more than they feed their own- probably because they are larger

  • and the ants think it is a super healthy larva of their own!

  • The ants are now in an evolutionary race with this butterfly species as colonies that have

  • been duped have been changing their chemical signature so that it doesn't happen again.

  • In the meantime, the caterpillar is changing its chemical signature to dupe other species

  • of ants to not deplete the population of host ants!

  • 6.)

  • Hairworms and Grasshoppers A parasite known as Spinochordodes Tellinii

  • or more simply the hairworm, develops inside the grasshopper.

  • The worm then slowly begins to eat all the grasshopper's internal organs, leaving just

  • the legs, head, and outer shell.

  • The worm can grow to be much bigger than the grasshopper, about three to four times bigger!!

  • Once the parasite is fully grown, it has complete control over the grasshopper.

  • It then brainwashed its host into a death dive into a body of water, which is something

  • the grasshopper would never do on its own.

  • From there, the worm can detach itself from the grasshopper and carry on with its adventures,

  • usually looking for a mate.

  • Once the worm is no longer attached to the grasshopper, the grasshopper is left to drown

  • and die in the waters.

  • For years, scientists have researched how and why these hairworms are able to brainwash

  • the grasshoppers to basically commit suicide.

  • Through their studies, researchers believe that the worm produces proteins which affect

  • the central nervous system of the grasshopper.

  • 5.)

  • Toxoplasma Gondii Toxoplasma Gondii is a parasite that can actually

  • change your behaviour and how you act, especially towards your cat.

  • It is more commonly called Toxoplasmosis, which is the name of the infection Toxoplasma

  • Gondii creates.

  • Turns out that domestic cats are the only known definitive hosts where the parasite

  • can reproduce and the CDC says that about 40 million people in the United States alone,

  • may be infected and not even know it!!

  • The parasite is found all over the world, but if you are a healthy adult there are almost

  • no observable symptoms but you might really, really be attracted to cats.

  • Studies have shown that rats and mice infected with Toxoplasmosis changed their behavior

  • and were no longer afraid of cats, making it easier for them to get eaten, and then

  • the parasite could infect the cat and keep on spreading.

  • Once the cat is infected, their behavior starts to change and they often show more symptoms

  • of the infection than any other warm-blooded animal or human.

  • For instance, they become depressed, which effects their mood and behavior.

  • On top of this, other symptoms of Toxoplasmosis are loss of appetite, vomiting, seizures,

  • shortness of breath, muscle weakness, and they might even become partially or completely

  • paralyzed.

  • More recently toxoplasmosis has been linked to severe neurological disorders such as schizophrenia

  • and bipolar disorder.

  • Also people with the infection are no longer grossed out by the smell of cat urine.

  • You can catch toxoplasmosis by cleaning out a litterbox of an infected cat, eating contaminated

  • meat or shellfish, accidentally ingesting contaminated soil (like if you don't wash

  • your hands after gardening, or you eat unwashed vegetables), and from mother to child which

  • can cause severe birth defects.

  • Like I said before, for healthy adults you could go your whole life and never show any

  • symptoms but for people with weak immune systems and infants it can cause some serious illnesses.

  • 4.)

  • Spiny-Headed Worm Like the Euhaplorchis Californiensis, the

  • Acanthocephalans is a gut dwelling parasite.

  • More simply known as the thorny-headed or spiny-headed worm, the adult worm dwells in

  • the guts of a common bird known as the starling.

  • This worm can vary in length as it can be several millimeters and grow up to ten centimeters

  • (almost four inches long).

  • Like other parasites, the worm lays its eggs inside the bird and those larvae travel out

  • through the bird's feces.

  • From there, they look for innocent pill bugs (or roly polys) on the forest floor.

  • When the pill bug eats the eggs unknowingly, the larvae from the spiny-headed worm starts

  • taking over its body and eating the pill bug from the inside out.

  • Eventually, the worms begin to take over the pillbugs brain, and alter the brain's chemistry

  • to make them love light.

  • Instead of hiding under rocks, which is normal behavior for a pill bug, the bug starts to

  • roam around out in the open.

  • This makes the pill bug easily exposed for a bird to snatch up as food and once again,

  • the starling's sharp eye finds them and eats them and the cycle continues.

  • 3.)

  • Castrator Barnacles The castrator barnacles, more commonly known

  • as the Sacculina carcini, is a parasite that grows inside a crab.

  • But as you can imagine, it's calledthe castratorfor a reason.

  • The larva seek out unsuspecting crab and enters its shell from where it is the most vulnerable.

  • It becomes a living syringe and attaches itself into the bloodstream.

  • The more the Sacculina grows, the more it takes control of the crab.

  • Soon, the crab no longer grows, molts, digests, or reproduces.

  • This is when the crab stops taking care of itself and starts taking care of the parasite

  • and any offspring.

  • All the crab's nourishments go into the Sacculina and its tendrils spread throughout

  • the crab, taking over body and mind.

  • It castrates the crab making it no longer able to reproduce.

  • The male crab's gonads shrink, its abdomen grows in order to carry the offspring of the

  • Sacculina, and it stops developing its fighting claws.

  • Once the eggs are ready to be released from the crab, the crab jumps up and down in the

  • water, releasing the eggs, and then stirs the eggs around with its claws so the eggs

  • can find their own host.

  • These body snatchers affect beyond their hosts and are affecting the rest of the environment.

  • 2.)

  • Glyptapanteles Wasp The Glyptapanteles is a genus of wasp that

  • turn caterpillars into zombies.

  • The female wasps inject their eggs into caterpillars which are already alive and well.

  • From there, the eggs hatch and the larvae start to grow.

  • As they are growing, they slowly start taking over the caterpillar, feeding on its fluids

  • and taking over its mind to turn it into a bodyguard that protects them.