- Group: Leucochloridium paradoxum
The green-banded broodsac flatworm is pretty incredible, and certainly one of the most impressive body-snatching parasites we’ve ever seen. Essentially, the broodsacs will find a way inside a snail. They will then move to the eyestalks, which actually draws attention to them for birds to pick them up. This is by design, as the bird is the broodsac’s primary host. Once inside the bird, eggs will be laid and released out through the feces. Before this can happen, the bird MUST spot the snail perfectly. How does the parasite truly manage this? They will infect the snail and manipulate its brain.
In fact, the parasite makes it want to go into well-lit places and place itself in higher vegetation. This will ensure the bird will see it easier than it would in darker territories. Moreover, getting it into higher vegetation means that the bird won’t have to search around on the ground from an aerial viewpoint for something to eat. It will easily spot the snail in a spot that is also very accessible. On top of this, the parasite forces the snail to sit in the same observation spot for at least 45 minutes to an hour. If a bird never comes for them, the parasite might leave the snail. It can then potentially survive for about a year after the encounter.