Some parasites have developed the incredible ability to manipulate their hosts in order to reproduce. The mind is very complex, but these parasites found a way to control it and make their victims more aggressive. They produce spasms. The animals infected sometimes commit suicide. Some of these interesting and powerful parasites are the Gordian Worm, the Rabies Virus, the Ophiocordyceps, Plasmodium, and Toxoplasma.
The Gordian Worm lives inside the cricket. The parasite needs water to reproduce, but the cricket usually does not go near the water. The worm affects the navigational system of the cricket, making him jump erratically close to the water until it falls into it. The cricket drowns into the water and the parasite reproduces with a mate. The parasites’ eggs are then eaten by water insects that grow in the water and then fly to the ground where they are devoured by crickets. The circle starts again.
The Rabies Virus infects mammals, such as dogs and causes inflammation to their brains. It makes them produce saliva that contains the virus and causes them to be more aggressive. When the dog bites other animals, it transmits the virus, which leads to the repetition of the cycle until the animal dies due to the inflammation.
The Ophiocordyceps, also known as the zombie fungus, infects the ants that live in tropical trees. The ants that carry the zombie fungus, fall from the trees and walk like zombies until they find a leaf that has all the characteristics that the parasite needs to reproduce. Then the ants bite the leaf and die. The parasite builds a stalk from the ant’s neck, which produces and spreads new spores that infect more ants.
The Plasmodium is one of the deadliest parasites to humans. It causes malaria. The parasite needs mosquitoes in order to spread to a new victim. It makes the mosquitoes bite more frequently and for a longer time. This increases the infection rate enormously. It is also believed that humans infected with malaria attract more mosquitoes that will transmit the disease.
The Toxoplasma changes the chemical levels in rats in order to manipulate their survival instincts. These rats are not afraid of cats, but instead are attracted to them. They are very easy prey to cats that eat them. The parasites will pass to the cat’s body, and complete their circle life. Their excrement will be eaten by new rats, starting the process again. There is evidence that the parasite also affects human minds, creating these crazy cat lovers.
These are some of the most incredible parasites discovered by science. As we can see, mind control is possible by these little organisms, who developed amazing techniques to kill and reproduce.