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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.
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!!
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.
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
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
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 actually “taste” this 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!
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.
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
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.
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.
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 called “the castrator” for 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.
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.
The caterpillar slowly starves to death as the larvae continue to grow.
When they are ready, the larvae mature and gnaw their way out of its skin en masse!!
It is then the caterpillar dies and the wasps go on to find a new caterpillar to use as
the host for their eggs.
In recent years, scientists have brought this life cycle into their labs for study.
Through this research we have learned that they can greatly boost their chances of survival
compared to other wasps.
But geez, these guys are hard core.
Cyborg Beetle Scientists from two different universities
have used biology to create robots that can match the agility and efficiency of animals.
The Cyborg Beetle is a little biobot that can be used for search and rescue missions
and as a spying tool.
Researchers from the University of California, Berkley and Nanyang Technical University in
Singapore attached a backpack to a giant flower beetle.
This beetle is native to Africa and is about 2 inches long.
They are controlled through electrical stimulation, which tells the beetle's muscles when to
First, there are electrodes inserted at certain parts of the beetle's legs, flight muscles,
and optic lobes.
These electrodes are connected to the microchip backpacks, which are attached to the beetles
using organic beeswax.
Then, the scientists use a remote control to stimulate the muscles and make the beetle
take off, change direction during flight, or hover.
The first remote-controlled beetle was created in 2009, and since then scientists have continued
to expand on the idea of Cyborg beetles.
Beetles are sturdy and can carry a heavy load including electronic sensors, microphones,
thermal sensors, all kinds of things.
Researchers argue that these beetles would be cheaper and perform better than mechanical
Now, these animal-computer hybrid robots will start to include dragonflies and cockroaches.
Cyborg beetles and could help us explore areas not accessible before, such as collapsed buildings
and all kinds of other things.
Thanks for watching!!!
Hope this didn't scare you too much!!
See nature, is scarier than Game of Thrones sometimes!!
Remember to subscribe, and I'll see you next time!
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322 Folder Collection
陳明頤 published on November 22, 2019    陳明頤 translated    Evangeline reviewed
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