In my previous article, Real-Life Zombies in Animal World: Part 1, I explained about Zombified ants and, I promised I will do my next article on more zombie animals. I found several creatures that turn to zombies who then operate according to the needs of a parasite. You will be surprised to see the list.
1. Pill Bug
Pillbug also known as Roly-poly bug and potato bug, is an insect that becomes a captive for the nefarious acanthocephalon (Plagiorhynchus cylindraceus) parasite. This parasite enters the body of the bug by the intake of bird poop and then it gradually starts to take over full control of the bug. When the parasite zombifies the bug completely, it compels the bug to do certain things that a normal bug wouldn’t even dream of. A zombified Roly-poly becomes a fan of its predator, birds and exposes itself to become a meal for the day. Furthermore, it strolls to a lighter colored surface to be seen more clearly. This freeloader needs to get inside a bird’s digestive system to grow into adulthood. That’s the reason why it forces the host to behave in such a manner.
Sacculina carcini barnacle is the parasite responsible for enslaving crabs. Barnacles castrate crabs and snatch their body for reproduction motives. The infection injected into the crab slowly kills it by absorbing its body fluids.
The gender of the crab is not a problem for this dependent and in fact, it can change the characteristics of a male crab to a female. The parasite creates a sac to lay its eggs in the same area that a female crab’s eggs normally would go. Hence, the crab takes good care of the parasite larvae thinking it as its own. An infected crab will never be able to reproduce their own babies again.
Cockroaches become slaves to Jewel Wasps which are smaller insects that are about one-third of the size of a cockroach. When a wasp is ready to breed, a cockroach hunt begins, and when they find one they will inject their poison to the host’s brain to take control over the brain and the movements. When the cockroach is unable to move, the wasp drags it to its nest and implants eggs in the cockroach’s abdomen. The larva that hatches will feed on the cockroach until it becomes a fully grown jewel wasp. The cockroach doesn’t take any effort to escape even though it’s been consumed by the larva alive.
An Ecuadorian wasp locates its egg in the abdomen of a spider. Once the egg hatches, with the larvae attached to its back, the spider builds a strong cocoon-shaped web for its murderer. The spider even destroys its web to build a better cocoon for the larvae. Once the cocoon is made spider becomes the supper for the larvae. Larvae grow inside the cocoon until its ready to start its own life.
5.Cricket, Grasshopper And Praying Mantis
Have you ever heard about suicidal insects before? I bet you haven’t but after reading this you will get to know that insects suicide themselves as well.
The reason is an invasion of a parasite called Hairworm into the insect’s body which makes it do unusual things. Crickets, grasshoppers, and praying manties suicide by drowning themselves in water. The parasite controls the activities of these animals to lead them into the water for the reason that they need an aquatic environment to breed.
Go to Real-Life Zombies in Animal World: Part 1 to read a detailed version of zombified ants.
Different types of parasites can compel hosts to behave in abnormal ways that are favourable to parasites. These poor hosts have no chance against the parasite because of the moment they infected, they are doomed to die.