If there’s something the series is for Last of us, in addition to entertaining us for a while every Monday, it was meant to show us that nature can be almost more amazing in real life than in fiction. In the show, we saw a fungus that turns people into zombies, and immediately discovered that in real life there is a very similar one that does the same thing, but with insects instead of people. And if this ability to use other living beings as puppets seemed impressive to us, reading about such parasites as small liver fluke (Dicrocelium dendriticus)It’s already quite exciting.

It is a parasitic worm that manipulates three animals at will to complete its entire life cycle: ruminant, snail and ant. All three are unconsciously part of a plan, thought out to the millimeter. Although, without a doubt, the worst thing is the ant, which becomes a zombie at the mercy of the worm.

It is not the only parasite capable of manipulating its hosts to achieve its goals. Case toxoplasma gondiithe cause of toxoplasmosis. But without a doubt, this is one of those that attracts the most attention, thanks to the complexity of its plan.

The complex “mode of action” of the parasitic worm

This parasitic worm was discovered in the 19th century in sheep. In general, he has a great fondness for domestic ruminants, so he is very often found on cattle grazing.

If it infects these animals, it is because the parasite lays its eggs in bile ducts of ruminants. That is, in some thin channels that carry out the bile formed in the liver. Thus, the eggs reach the faeces, which carry them out of the animal’s body. But the worm cannot complete its life cycle there. For this reason, the next step is performed snailthat feeds on these feces. The eggs then hatch and the larvae enter the intestines of the snail. And it is he who is inadvertently going to put the next step in the parasite’s master plan on a silver platter.

After a series of divisions, the larva turns into something known as cercariae, which comes out along with the characteristic mucus of snails. this slime attracts ants, who become the last and most injured victims of the parasite. Cercariae enter your body as they enter a new phase called metacercariae.

This releases toxins that take over the ant’s nervous system, altering its will. The insect turns into a zombie at the mercy of the parasite, which strength go to tip of a blade of grass. There, after a strong bite, it remains hanging from the leaf and is exposed, so that in the morning it is eaten by some ruminant herbivore. In this way, the worm will be able to complete its cycle by laying eggs inside itself again.

parasite Dicrocoelium dendriticum
Wikimedia Commons

The most curious thing has not yet arrived

All this is incredible, but it is not the most curious thing in the whole story. And the fact is that if in the morning not a single herbivore eats an ant, one would think that he got rid of the possession of the parasite. Or that he would starve to death hanging from a leaf. Or even being attacked by another type of predator. But none of this is happening, okay this would not suit the parasite.

What happens is that the ant descends from the leaf and continues its normal life. However, when night falls, as if in some kind of hypnotic trick, he returns to the tip of the blade of grass and waits there. until next morning. Thus, day after day, the moment comes when the herbivore eats the poor ant, which has long ceased to be itself, to be another puppet on a staff. All this is at the level of the most confusing chapter Last of us?

Source: Hiper Textual

Previous article15 sensible products for the kitchen from AliExpress. For example, the only normal toothache
Next articleThe most powerful iPad Air in history offers a huge discount of 100 euros on Amazon


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here