From parasites that pop ant’s heads off,
to making animal-computer-hybrid robots, here are 10 of the most fascinating cases of mind
control in nature. 10.) Euhaplorchis Californiensis
The Euhaplorchis Californiensis is a parasite that is primarily found in southern California. These parasites live on the gut of shorebirds. Once the very tiny eggs of these parasites
develop, they are released into the waters through the shorebirds’ feces. These eggs will live and develop into larva
if they are swallowed up by snails. Once the larvae reach a certain stage, they
are able to escape the snails which is when they then find killifish. They continue to live in the brain of the
killifish, where the parasites begin to control the killifish’s activity. Once in the brain, the mind control begins. The parasites make the killifish swim to the
surface of the ocean where they will swim in circles. This makes it easy for the shorebirds to see
the killifish, catch them, and then eat them. Once the shorebirds have eaten an infected
killifish, the cycle begins again!! 9.) Acacia Trees
Ants and acacia trees have had a relationship for generations. For the longest time, people just assumed
this is how it was and no one really looked into the reasoning for this relationship. That was until some scientists discovered
that the relationship is actually more one sided than what people have previously thought. On the outside, this relationship looks to
be a win-win for both the ants and the trees. The acacia trees provide the ants with food
and hollow thorns, which can be used as nests for the ants. In return, the ants protect the acacia trees
from herbivores. Further research has shown that the ants also
keep bacteria away from the leaves of the acacia trees, which helps keep the trees overall
good health. However, continued research from scientists
has shown that there is a bit of manipulation from the acacia trees to help keep this relationship
strong. It turns out that the food the ants eat from
the acacia trees actually contains a chemical which will change their brain chemicals and
put the ant into a defensive mode; making them more likely to protect the acacia trees. 8.) Phorid Flies
Phorid flies are very tiny flies that love to take over ants. Over 20 species of Pseudacteon flies are known
to take over fire ants in South America. As an adult they are about the size of an
ant’s head. The female fly attacks the ant to insert anywhere
from 100 to 300 of its eggs into its thorax. Once the eggs hatch, the larvae move to the
head of the ant, take over their minds and then pop off their head from the inside. This is why they are also called ant-decapitating
flies. The larva keeps its host functioning and stays
in the relative safety of the colony. Then when the maggot is ready, it makes the
ant leave the colony and die in a humid, cool place. It releases a chemical that dissolves the
ant’s membranes, causing the ant’s head to fall off. The larva then begins to pupate inside the
head, and when it’s ready, a new ant-decapitating fly crawls out of the ant’s mouth. Spooky right?? These flies are now being brought into the
US to control the population of black and red fire ants that have started to invade
and cause millions of dollars worth of damage to agriculture. So if you see a bunch of severed ants heads,
you’ll know why!! And now for number 7 but first be sure you
are subscribed before you leave. We have lots of new videos coming up!
7.) The Alcon Blue Butterfly
There is a beautiful parasitic butterfly which is known to fool ants. These butterflies are called the Alcon blue
butterfly and before they turn into butterflies, they manipulate ants into taking care of them. They basically do this in the same way that
the Toxoplasma Gondii parasite in mice fools cats. When the Alcon blue butterfly is still in
the caterpillar stage, the caterpillar has a smell on its outer coat which attracts the
ants to it. The ants actually “taste” this smell when
their antenna touches the coat of the butterfly. This smell can actually make the ants believe
that the caterpillar is one of their own larvae. The caterpillar is usually brought back to
the ant colony where the ants are duped into feeding the caterpillars more than they feed
their own- probably because they are larger and the ants think it is a super healthy larva
of their own! The ants are now in an evolutionary race with
this butterfly species as colonies that have been duped have been changing their chemical
signature so that it doesn’t happen again. In the meantime, the caterpillar is changing
its chemical signature to dupe other species of ants to not deplete the population of host
ants! 6.) Hairworms and Grasshoppers
A parasite known as Spinochordodes Tellinii or more simply the hairworm, develops inside
the grasshopper. The worm then slowly begins to eat all the
grasshopper’s internal organs, leaving just the legs, head, and outer shell. The worm can grow to be much bigger than the
grasshopper, about three to four times bigger!! Once the parasite is fully grown, it has complete
control over the grasshopper. It then brainwashed its host into a death
dive into a body of water, which is something the grasshopper would never do on its own. From there, the worm can detach itself from
the grasshopper and carry on with its adventures, usually looking for a mate. Once the worm is no longer attached to the
grasshopper, the grasshopper is left to drown and die in the waters. For years, scientists have researched how
and why these hairworms are able to brainwash the grasshoppers to basically commit suicide. Through their studies, researchers believe
that the worm produces proteins which affect the central nervous system of the grasshopper. 5.) Toxoplasma Gondii
Toxoplasma Gondii is a parasite that can actually change your behaviour and how you act, especially
towards your cat. It is more commonly called Toxoplasmosis,
which is the name of the infection Toxoplasma Gondii creates. Turns out that domestic cats are the only
known definitive hosts where the parasite can reproduce and the CDC says that about
40 million people in the United States alone, may be infected and not even know it!! The parasite is found all over the world,
but if you are a healthy adult there are almost no observable symptoms but you might really,
really be attracted to cats. Studies have shown that rats and mice infected
with Toxoplasmosis changed their behavior and were no longer afraid of cats, making
it easier for them to get eaten, and then the parasite could infect the cat and keep
on spreading. Once the cat is infected, their behavior starts
to change and they often show more symptoms of the infection than any other warm-blooded
animal or human. For instance, they become depressed, which
effects their mood and behavior. On top of this, other symptoms of Toxoplasmosis
are loss of appetite, vomiting, seizures, shortness of breath, muscle weakness, and
they might even become partially or completely paralyzed. More recently toxoplasmosis has been linked
to severe neurological disorders such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Also people with the infection are no longer
grossed out by the smell of cat urine. You can catch toxoplasmosis by cleaning out
a litterbox of an infected cat, eating contaminated meat or shellfish, accidentally ingesting
contaminated soil (like if you don’t wash your hands after gardening, or you eat unwashed
vegetables), and from mother to child which can cause severe birth defects. Like I said before, for healthy adults you
could go your whole life and never show any symptoms but for people with weak immune systems
and infants it can cause some serious illnesses. 4.) Spiny-Headed Worm
Like the Euhaplorchis Californiensis, the Acanthocephalans is a gut dwelling parasite. More simply known as the thorny-headed or
spiny-headed worm, the adult worm dwells in the guts of a common bird known as the starling. This worm can vary in length as it can be
several millimeters and grow up to ten centimeters (almost four inches long). Like other parasites, the worm lays its eggs
inside the bird and those larvae travel out through the bird’s feces. From there, they look for innocent pill bugs
(or roly polys) on the forest floor. When the pill bug eats the eggs unknowingly,
the larvae from the spiny-headed worm starts taking over its body and eating the pill bug
from the inside out. Eventually, the worms begin to take over the
pillbugs brain, and alter the brain’s chemistry to make them love light. Instead of hiding under rocks, which is normal
behavior for a pill bug, the bug starts to roam around out in the open. This makes the pill bug easily exposed for
a bird to snatch up as food and once again, the starling’s sharp eye finds them and
eats them and the cycle continues. 3.) Castrator Barnacles
The castrator barnacles, more commonly known as the Sacculina carcini, is a parasite that
grows inside a crab. But as you can imagine, it’s called “the
castrator” for a reason. The larva seek out unsuspecting crab and enters
its shell from where it is the most vulnerable. It becomes a living syringe and attaches itself
into the bloodstream. The more the Sacculina grows, the more it
takes control of the crab. Soon, the crab no longer grows, molts, digests,
or reproduces. This is when the crab stops taking care of
itself and starts taking care of the parasite and any offspring. All the crab’s nourishments go into the
Sacculina and its tendrils spread throughout the crab, taking over body and mind. It castrates the crab making it no longer
able to reproduce. The male crab’s gonads shrink, its abdomen
grows in order to carry the offspring of the Sacculina, and it stops developing its fighting
claws. Once the eggs are ready to be released from
the crab, the crab jumps up and down in the water, releasing the eggs, and then stirs
the eggs around with its claws so the eggs can find their own host. These body snatchers affect beyond their hosts
and are affecting the rest of the environment. 2.) Glyptapanteles Wasp
The Glyptapanteles is a genus of wasp that turn caterpillars into zombies. The female wasps inject their eggs into caterpillars
which are already alive and well. From there, the eggs hatch and the larvae
start to grow. As they are growing, they slowly start taking
over the caterpillar, feeding on its fluids and taking over its mind to turn it into a
bodyguard that protects them. The caterpillar slowly starves to death as
the larvae continue to grow. When they are ready, the larvae mature and
gnaw their way out of its skin en masse!! It is then the caterpillar dies and the wasps
go on to find a new caterpillar to use as the host for their eggs. In recent years, scientists have brought this
life cycle into their labs for study. Through this research we have learned that
they can greatly boost their chances of survival compared to other wasps. But geez, these guys are hard core. 1.) Cyborg Beetle
Scientists from two different universities have used biology to create robots that can
match the agility and efficiency of animals. The Cyborg Beetle is a little biobot that
can be used for search and rescue missions and as a spying tool. Researchers from the University of California,
Berkley and Nanyang Technical University in Singapore attached a backpack to a giant flower
beetle. This beetle is native to Africa and is about
2 inches long. They are controlled through electrical stimulation,
which tells the beetle’s muscles when to move. First, there are electrodes inserted at certain
parts of the beetle’s legs, flight muscles, and optic lobes. These electrodes are connected to the microchip
backpacks, which are attached to the beetles using organic beeswax. Then, the scientists use a remote control
to stimulate the muscles and make the beetle take off, change direction during flight,
or hover. The first remote-controlled beetle was created
in 2009, and since then scientists have continued to expand on the idea of Cyborg beetles. Beetles are sturdy and can carry a heavy load
including electronic sensors, microphones, thermal sensors, all kinds of things. Researchers argue that these beetles would
be cheaper and perform better than mechanical drones. Now, these animal-computer hybrid robots will
start to include dragonflies and cockroaches. Cyborg beetles and could help us explore areas
not accessible before, such as collapsed buildings and all kinds of other things. Thanks for watching!!! Hope this didn’t scare you too much!! See nature, is scarier than Game of Thrones
sometimes!! Remember to subscribe, and I‘ll see you
next time!

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