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Animals By Will Lewis -
Gross Animals That Will Make You Say “Ew, Why?”
[Image via Fox]

The Terrifying Tapeworm

Tapeworms constitute a peculiar group of parasitic flatworms that make their homes within the digestive tracts of various animals, including humans. They have elongated, ribbon-like bodies composed of individual segments. Their appearance often garners repulsion, primarily because their parasitic nature and unique anatomical structure. These parasites establish residence in the intestines of a broad spectrum of hosts, including mammals, birds, and fish, exhibiting a widespread presence that spans different regions across the globe.The perception of tapeworms as repulsive creatures primarily comes from their parasitic lifestyle. They thrive within their host’s intestines by absorbing nutrients from the host’s digested food.
This potentially causes health concerns in their host organisms, an unsettling prospect for many. However, these often villianized parasitic organisms serve a surprising ecological role. They indirectly contribute to the regulation of host populations by exerting a certain degree of control over the health and numbers of their host species. In the world of nature, tapeworms aid in maintaining the delicate balance of animal populations within their respective ecosystems. Despite their unsettling reputation tapeworms remain an integral part of the complex web of life by playing their role in the natural checks and balances that define our ecosystems.

Where Do We Find This Stuff? Here Are Our Sources:

Blobfish: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/fish/facts/blobfish

Hagfish: https://www.montereybayaquarium.org/animals/animals-a-to-z/pacific-hagfish

Aye Aye: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/facts/aye-aye

Naked Mole Rat:https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/facts/naked-mole-rat

Palouse Earth Worm: https://www.biologicaldiversity.org/species/invertebrates/giant_Palouse_earthworm/index.html

Wolverine Frog: https://a-z-animals.com/blog/hairy-frogs/

Surinam Toad: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/amphibians/facts/surinam-toad

Lamprey: https://www.britannica.com/animal/lamprey

Tarantula Hawk: https://www.britannica.com/animal/spider-wasp#ref139531

Goliath Beetle: https://www.discoverafrica.com/blog/meet-the-goliath-beetle-the-worlds-heaviest-insect/

Giant Isopod: https://www.montereybayaquarium.org/animals/animals-a-to-z/giant-isopod

Probiscus Monkey: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/facts/proboscis-monkey

Snub Nosed Monkey: https://primate.wisc.edu/primate-info-net/pin-factsheets/pin-factsheet-golden-snub-nosed-monkey/

Turkey Vulture: https://www.britannica.com/animal/turkey-vulture

Bot Fly: https://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/misc/flies/human_bot_fly.htm

Yeti Crab: https://ocean.si.edu/ocean-life/invertebrates/yeti-crab

Ichneumon Wasp: https://bugguide.net/node/view/150

Tongue-Eating Louse: https://oceanconservancy.org/blog/2022/04/28/tongue-eating-louse-eats-tongues/

Tapeworm: https://www.britannica.com/animal/flatworm