- Group: Nematomorpha
The Paragordius tricuspidatus is a parasitic worm mostly known for using crickets as its host. During field examinations and testing, it was found that this parasite does indeed manipulate the behavior of the crickets they invade. It is likely done in a few ways, but mostly through chemicals. Interestingly, these worms are microscopic in their larval stage. They will eventually grow relatively large for a parasitic worm, between 4 to 6 inches. Usually, this happens when crickets accidentally eat eggs accidentally. Of course, the eggs are strategically placed by the edge of water sources like rivers where crickets can frequently be found.
Now that the microscopic version of the species is inside the cricket, it begins to feed on the inside of the body. Once it completely matures, the worm is naturally ready to get out and get into the water to reproduce. To do this, it takes hold of the cricket’s brain and forces it to leap into nearby water where the worm will exit the cricket’s body. Of course, this process of exiting is quite “graphic” to say the least. However, if the cricket is preyed upon by another species before making it, the worm can escape the host’s body pretty fast or through the predator’s digestive system.