The 5 Most Messed-Up Creatures on Earth

 

Nature is beautiful and romantic. Right? Lions racing freely on the vast savannah. Eagles soaring under the golden sunshine. But also  wasps that zombify cockroaches? Worms that grow under your skin? Bacteria that kills off all males within a population? We live in such a lovely world. Whether you like it or not, nature contains numerous adorable parasites that even a sci-fi author couldn’t have thought of.

Caution: the following content is not compatible with meals of any sort.

5. The ultimate French kiss: Cymothoa exigua

tongue parasite
hiii

 

Well, good news! As you puke along, keep in mind that these parasites are not found in human bodies yet. Cymothoa exigua is a kind of isopod (cousin of shrimps) obsessed with tongues. Born as males, these parasites camp and mature in fish gills. Eventually, one of these parasites becomes female and crawls onto the tongue of the fish. She then begins to suck blood from the tongue until the tongue withers and falls off. Fortunately, this lovely parasite compensates for the loss. The female parasite occupies the mouth of the fish and becomes its new prosthetic tongue. When this happens, the other male parasites crawl out from their gill camps and mate with these fake tongues. The newborns swim into gills of other fish, and the cycle continues.

 

4. What’s that on your eyelash: Demodex

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Are you grossed out when a bug crawls on your face? Too bad, a study shows that all of our faces are teeming with mites, relatives of spiders. These micro-neighbors dwell in your hair follicles (where our hair grows from) and are in love with the oil produced by your face. As a result, most of them are buried in your eyelids, cheeks, or chin. However, they are also found in places such as nipples, forearms, and butts. Interestingly, these face mites lack anuses and are incapable of pooping. Instead, the waste gradually bursts out from them after they die under your skin. While they are usually stationary, these micro-spiders are more active in darkness. When the lights are dim or off, they climb out and mate with one another on your face. Before you spray DDT on your face, be rest reassured that these mites are so small that they can cause no serious harm…in most cases.

 

 

3. Suicidal grasshoppers: horsehair worms

HHW_movie.gif

Horse hair worms are named after their appearance. Hatched in freshwater environments, the larvae of these parasites live peacefully at the bottom of rivers. Their adventure begins once they are eaten by insects such as mosquitoes and mayflies. As these infected insects fly around, they may be eaten by naïve, hungry crickets. Once inside the cricket, the horsehair worm goes through the gut and grows in the cricket’s body cavity to around 31 cm (180cm in cockroaches). When the worm fully matures, they take partial control of the brain while the infected cricket waves goodbye to its family, belly flops into a random stream, and dies. The worm then crawls out and mates with others. Home sweet home.

 

 

2. Zombie ants: Lancet Fluke

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The life of lancet flukes starts when an unsuspecting snail chows down a piece of delicious cow feces that contains eggs of lancet flukes. Once inside the snail, these embryos grow comfortably into adults. Adult flukes venture to their host’s lungs where they are coughed out as black slime balls. Sweet and attractive to ants, these slime balls are then consumed by ants hunting for food. Most of the flukes enter the ant’s abdomen while others attack the nervous system. The flukes then prepare for their mind-control scheme. The following night, this poor ant switches its personality and wanders off from its colony to cling onto a random blade of grass. In the morning, the ant is released from the mind-control to work alongside its colleagues. This day-night routine continues until it is eaten by a cow along with the blade of grass.

 

 

1. A brand new eyeball: Leucochloridium paradoxum

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This flatworm enter snails through bird feces. It first penetrates through the snail’s digestive tract and grows into a long tube. Eventually, they poke through the eye tentacle, preferring the left, and present their swollen, colorful body. Whereas normal snails prefer darkness to avoid predators, infected snails are commanded to crawl toward the light where its new eyestalk wiggles intensely. As a result, birds are tricked into seeing a buffet of energetic caterpillars dancing on snails and tempted into swallowing the infected snails. Once inside the bird, the worm then lays eggs in the digestive tracts. The new borns then exit as bird feces, and the cycle continues.

snaildorm.png
Dorm mates

 

 

 

Next time you marvel at how beautiful nature is, remember that there are some really nasty creatures roaming around. Watch out for what you eat, drink, and touch or else the next victim will be you.

 

 

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Comment below! 

In your comment, please RANK my article (1 is bad and 10 is great) and say why you gave it the score you did! Also, let me know why you clicked on this article! Thanks!

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16 thoughts on “The 5 Most Messed-Up Creatures on Earth

  1. 10/10! I found this article to be amazingly disturbing. I like the tone as well. Funny but gross. I clicked here because for some reason I’m drawn to gross stuff. And that’s what this article is about… 🙂

    Like

  2. It was trending toward a 10 until I got to the last picture. As a father, that will haunt my nightmares for a long time to come. What were you thinking!!!!

    Horrifying image aside, the concept is fascinating in a “horrible car wreck” sort of way.

    6.5/10

    Like

  3. I give this a 10! I really appreciate the slight sarcasm in the article. Although I am grossed out, I can’t help myself but to keep on reading it!

    Like

  4. This article is a 10/10 for how disgusting everything is! Nice job on the detailed descriptions, and I also liked the tone of the article. I clicked on the article because the title sounded weirdly fascinating.

    Like

    1. I like it due to how disgusting it is, and the title of the article might attract people to this. The article itself is well informed and taught us how messed-up it is. I rank it 10/10, but because it almost made me puke, I guess that I should just give it a 9.5/10

      Like

  5. 9/10; overall this article is well written and has a great opening. The topic draws readers attention really well and sounds like one that would actually appear in my news feed. The humor throughout the article is entertaining. I took one point off just because I personally think it is kind of long and start to get a little bit tedious after the flatworm paragraph.

    Like

  6. I love your article hahaha 😀 The creatures are so gross that I found it extremely funny, and your article is really detailed and well-written. I wanted to read the article is I’d like to see what kind of creatures are they. I think the article is a 10/10

    Like

  7. I like it because it is so disgusting and it matches your topic. It attracted me, because I just wanted to know more about the “unknown” creatures. Good Job! 10/10
    By the way, I really like the first picture* (really gross me out)

    Like

  8. Props to you for being able to find such disturbingly disguising things… I will give you a 10/10 for being very informative and staying very relevant to your topic. Good job!

    Like

  9. I like this because it shows a different and interesting side of nature.
    This may attract people who are wondering about a new insight of the things around them.
    8.5

    Like

  10. 8/10
    First it scared me, but after reading your article it makes something so disgusting into a something really cool, I didn’t like the last pic because it freaked me out and I just can’t take it.

    Like

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