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Biology By Joe Burgett -

These Horrific Body-Snatching Parasites Will Make You Squirm
[Image via Cornel Constantin/Shutterstock.com]

Jewel Wasp

  • Group: Ampulex compressa

We have referenced the actions of the Jewel Wasp a few times on Science Sensei over the years. It is hard to ignore what this wasp can do. Whenever one of these female wasps mature and is ready to have little wasps, they will find a cockroach to help with that. Once they spot the best one they can find, they will sting the roach directly in the brain. That will result in the roach being paralyzed for a brief period of time. This is more than enough time for the wasp to do as it needs. While the roach is out of it, the wasp takes it back to its burrow where they implant their egg. This is usually just one egg though.

From here, the roach is able to eventually come to and leave to go back to its own home. The wasp won’t protest the move, as it wants the roach to go back to its home. Thus, it’ll follow this cockroach back to where it is staying. Once inside, the wasp will then block the entrance and exit, effectively trapping the roach inside. At this point, the egg is growing and in three days, the larva will hatch and slowly begin to eat the roach from the inside. This mother wasp was able to control everything perfectly, giving it the best outcome while the baby wasp literally took over the body. Making it one of the most notable body-snatching parasites in the world today.

These Horrific Body-Snatching Parasites Will Make You Squirm
[Image via Pathology Outlines]

Toxoplasma Gondii

  • Group: Apicomplexan

Perhaps the most notable of all body-snatching parasites, the Toxoplasma Gondii is a well-known brain parasite mostly found in rats. Once a rat is infected by this parasite, it is capable of manipulating and forcing the rat to do whatever it wants. In fact, many are trying to move around to different hosts. As a result, it will push for the rat to be seen by other animals. In particular, its most notable enemy, the house cat. Thus, the rat will go literally right at the cat rather than running away as it normally would. In fact, in one study, it was found that infected rats seem to be attracted to the smell of cats overall, but in particular their urine.

Now that the rat is more often than not killed by the cat, the parasite will now move inside the cat. This gives the parasite the proper room it needs to breed and further expand. There are quite a few cases of humans getting this parasite inside of them too. It is quite likely that they might have gotten it from their own cat. It is estimated that at least 60 million Americans have come in contact with Toxoplasma Gondii. That is pretty significant when you think about how hard it is for humans to randomly get parasites. At least those of us who understand hygiene. In humans, it could likely affect our brains and heavily reproduce if we do not kill it soon.