It's been awhile since we made your skin crawl, so we're happy to report that the good folks at Mental Floss have been collecting examples of parasites that like to play Jedi mind tricks on their hosts. Here's a post with profiles of parasites like Leucochloridium paradoxum, which infects snails, changes the appearance of their antennae, and makes them crawl out in daylight where birds will eat them (thus carrying on the next phase of the parasite's life); and Sacculina, a barnacle that castrates its crab host and gets the crab to take care of its larvae as if they were its own. (Ewww.) Here's another list including a fungus that enters the brain of ants and eventually makes their heads explode (literally). Some of these entries have videos, so don't miss out.
Behaving Strangely? Perhaps a Parasite Is Controlling Your Mind
May 15, 2009