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KokuRyu (2)

Parasitic Junk in Your Trunk

Parasitic Junk in Your Trunk "The little monsters jump off the adult wasp host, and scamper over to a wasp nest’s nursery. There they use enzymes to dissolve their way into the larval wasps, drop off their legs, and get busy eating. They wrap themselves in an envelope of their own skin, and also make a blanket from their host’s skin tissue. And here is where things get really weird."
posted by dhruva on Mar 17, 2014 - 58 comments

Half a pinkie's length up, right where the cartilage meets the bone

I discovered a new species up my nose. It could well be that the Ugandan nostril ticks have yet to spread beyond the particular park where we conducted our research. We now have to return and set traps to catch more. More on Tony Goldberg
posted by KokuRyu on Dec 7, 2013 - 19 comments

Parasite of the Day

Does just what it says on the tin,
"So, naturalists observe, a flea has smaller fleas that on him prey; and these have smaller still to bite ’em; and so proceed ad infinitum." - Jonathan Swift

posted by Blasdelb on Feb 18, 2013 - 13 comments

Inseminating Squid...

A study in the Journal of Parisitology tells of a woman who complained of pain in her cheek after eating parboiled squid. Turns out that some forms of squid can still inseminate, even after cooking.
posted by Isadorady on Jun 16, 2012 - 80 comments

I really dig infectious diseases (much to the dismay of those dining with me).

How did hookworm infections slow the economy of the postbellum South? Do body mites play a role in diseases such as rosacea? Did fermenting seal flippers in Tupperware instead of traditional containers increase Native Alaskan botulism rates? Body Horrors is the blog of microbiologist Rebecca Kreston, who aims to explore the intersection of infectious diseases, the human body, public health and anthropology.
posted by emjaybee on Sep 24, 2011 - 36 comments

Parasite Parade

The parasite Toxoplasma makes rats lust for cat pee and people drive motorbikes. Other behaviour-modifying parasites include Cordyceps (YouTube) and Sacculina. (Warning: Icky.)
posted by Zarkonnen on Jun 4, 2010 - 33 comments

Spoiler: It's in your poop.

Hand illustrated diagrams of parasite life cycles, with written explanations.
posted by Panjandrum on Apr 7, 2010 - 24 comments

The Fungus Overlords

The Fungus Overlords
posted by Dumsnill on Jul 30, 2009 - 30 comments

Just look at the face: it's vacant, with a hint of sadness. Like a drunk who's lost a bet.

Zombie Animals [more inside]
posted by KokuRyu on May 28, 2009 - 28 comments

Another Reason I'm Glad I'm Not An Ant

Continuing the recent theme of horrifying parasites, here's an infectious little nematode that makes its host swell up into a plump, juicy, red berry so that birds will mistakenly eat its bloated ichorous abdomen and spread the eggs. (via) [more inside]
posted by XMLicious on Jan 21, 2008 - 31 comments

How To Be A Good Host

Bot flies are large, stout bodied, hairy flies that resemble bumblebees. But how they reproduce is what makes them interesting: 1) An egg-laden female botfly captures a night-flying female mosquito and glues her eggs on to it. 2) When the mosquito is released and bites a victim, the host's body heat triggers an egg to hatch. 3) It falls off and burrows in. Even more interesting is that sometimes, this happens on humans! [YouTube/NSFSqueamish] And on humans sometimes, this happens in the most inconvenient [pdf] of places.
posted by humannaire on Dec 14, 2007 - 59 comments

The dirt on your doorstep is NOT a bathroom.

Listen to the creepy frog puppet & you too will avoid intestinal worms. Why did I post this? Because I care about you. Yeah, you're welcome. Previously.
posted by miss lynnster on May 2, 2007 - 36 comments

A Pliocene love that dare not speak its name?

How Do You Get Crabs From A Gorilla? One of many little evolutionary cases Carl Zimmer tackles in The Parasite Files.
posted by homunculus on Apr 18, 2007 - 28 comments

Boldly going where no one has gone before (and never coming back)

Who will volunteer to be our new Space Messiah? In these selfish times, maybe a little good old-fashioned self-sacrifice in the name of space exploration is just what the doctor ordered to restore humanity's faith in scientific truth and reason. On the other hand, could this bold proposal somehow be connected to recent revelations about the potential influence of mind-controlling parasites on human culture, as discussed in this MeFi thread on toxoplasmosis? Could it be that these little red guys from the sky are actually martian invaders who've been the secret puppet masters behind the world's recent troubles all along, as they carry out their fiendishly clever plot to drive humanity to the brink of self-destruction just so we'll be desperate enough to willingly offer up one of our own in a gesture of symbolic heroism? Will our new astronaut saviour ultimately end up as nothing more than a quick snack for the unnameable horror that awaits on the surface of the red planet?
posted by saulgoodman on Aug 4, 2006 - 17 comments

Lymphatic filariasis

Lymphatic filariasis (or, more dramatically, "elephantiasis") is spread by mosquitoes. The mosquitoes transmit worms to your blood, the worms mate while you sleep, and their progeny travel to your lymph nodes to live a happy life. Unfortunately for you, the worms can get too big, allowing fluid to collect in your limbs or scrotum. Lucky for your neighbors, the disease can be controlled using salt. (China already did it).
posted by stemlot on Apr 28, 2006 - 9 comments

Ascaris lumbricoides

Ascaris lumbricoides. According to estimates, about 1.5 billion people--about a quarter of the earth's population--are hosts to the Ascaris lumbricoides parasitic worm. Ascaris worms can grow to be 18 inches in length, and use their host's windpipe and esophagus to migrate between the small intestine and the lungs. A single human host may support dozen of large worms, which can be contracted by contact with fecal matter, animals, or undercooked pork. Under some circumstances (the worms dislike anesthesia, for example) one or more worms may exit from the mouth (a horrifying image), or the anus (one of the most disgusting images I have ever seen, and not safe for work, obviously). Here, the removal of a worm is caught on video (Realplayer). Too disgusting to post? Almost. But 1.5 billion people have got these in their bodies right now. That's what's grosser than gross.
posted by washburn on Mar 4, 2006 - 96 comments

The Return of the Puppet Masters

Are brain parasites altering the personalities of three billion people?
posted by moonbird on Jan 21, 2006 - 56 comments

It's all in the nose of the beholder

What parasite is a meter across, weighs 10 kg, and stinks to high heaven? None other than Rafflesia arnoldii, a remarkable parasitic plant. As amazing and smelly as it is, it's not the only funky flower. There's plenty of stinky fruit to go around too, such as the much-maligned ginkgo nut and the infamous king of fruits, the durian.
posted by Marit on Jan 10, 2006 - 27 comments

The ones that go in/Are lean and thin

I think I'll go eat...
posted by dilettante on Sep 26, 2005 - 16 comments

Nature is stupidly clever

"Creatures are out there that can control brains." [pdf]

The women "spent more money on clothes and were consistently rated as more attractive", but were "less trustworthy and had more relationships with men". The men become "less well groomed undesirable loners who were more willing to fight". All "are at greater risk of being involved in car accidents". Why? Something has its tentacles in their brains. They probably got it from that cuddly old species, the domestic cat, which the parasite infects by making infected rats "almost taunt" the cats into eating them.

Parasites in the brain alter their host's behavior. It's not just video game fiction. Various multi-host parasites make their living by making their hosts less ambulatory and less willing to explore, by castrating them and making them less cautious of predators, or by forcing their hosts to stay out all night so as to be eaten in the morning. These parasites offer yet another example of how stupidly clever evolution can be, and raise questions about how free "free will" really is.
posted by orthogonality on Jun 10, 2005 - 80 comments

Dracunculiasis

A worm that builds a home inside the human body, lives there happily until breeding time, then begins a journey to emerge from the skin and find a body of water to lay its eggs in. Although this may very well be a pleasant journey for the worm, for the human, it's an excrutiating one. And so we begin The Tale of the Guinea Worm.
posted by Space Coyote on Jun 14, 2004 - 9 comments

Batten down the mosquito netting

Batten down the mosquito netting In Iraq: "Now a new wave of unexpected horror, leishmaniasis, is arriving at WRAMC – which has the only accredited leishmaniasis lab in the United States – and its dedicated docs are burning the midnight oil to find a treatment. A model predicts that 1 percent to 4 percent of our soldiers in Iraq can expect to be hit by this potentially deadly parasite, delivered by the bite of infected sand flies as common in the Middle East as fleas on a wild dog. "
posted by Postroad on Mar 18, 2004 - 9 comments

Rules? What rules? I can do whatever I want...

Early humans lost hair to beat parasites? (New Scientist) - Human nakedness, a species anomaly among mammals, draws comparisons to the blind, naked mole rat. Meanwhile, seven thousand humans (Italians) recently gathered naked, for unclear purposes.
posted by troutfishing on Jun 9, 2003 - 17 comments

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