9 Creepy Parasites You’ll NEVER Want to Encounter


From creatures that can cause gruesome deaths
to others that functionally replace their host’s organs, here are 9 creepy parasites
you’ll never want to encounter: Number 9 Tarantula Hawk
Tarantula hawks are wasps that, much as their name implies, mainly hunt tarantulas. These creatures employ a particularly gruesome
killing technique. The tarantula hawk is known as a parasitoid
wasp. It will first grip the tarantula using the
hooked claws at the end of its long legs. Then the wasp will use its sting to paralyze
its prey before dragging it to a specialized brooding nest. The wasp will then lay a single egg in the
tarantula’s abdomen and cover the entrance. As the larva hatches, it enters the tarantula’s
body and begins to feed. In order to keep the spider alive for as long
as possible, the larva will typically avoid its vital organs during its voracious feeding. Ultimately, the wasp emerges from the spider’s
abdomen as an adult. To humans, the sting of a tarantula hawk is
incredibly painful. Even though the most intense pain only last
for about 5 to 7 minutes, it has been described as ‘blinding, fierce and shockingly electric’. Unless an allergic reaction is triggered,
the sting doesn’t require any medical attention. Due to the fact that tarantula hawks own extremely
long stingers, few animals are able to consume them. Their reputation in the animal kingdom is
so fierce that many predators give them a wide berth and other insects, like beetles,
moths, flies, other wasp species or bees, mimic them for defensive purposes. Number 8 Anelasma Squalicola
Anelasma squalicola may be the only living representative of a barnacle species that
made the transition from filter-feeding to parasitism. This is evident in the fact that the cirri,
structures once used for filtering food items, are present but no longer serve a feeding
function. As a parasite, Anelasma extracts nutrition
from its host through hidden tendrils that extend downwards from its body. Unlike most other barnacles, Anelasma squalicola
doesn’t have a shell. These barnacles are usually found in pairs
with their black-purple bodies protruding from that of their host. Anelasma attach themselves to several species
of deep-sea dwelling sharks. Castration is a common practice among parasites
that attack invertebrates such as insects or mollusks but it’s much rarer when it
comes to vertebrates. For reasons that are yet unknown Anelasma
seem to castrate their shark hosts. Even though the tendrils the parasites extend
don’t reach the sharks’ genitalia, Anelasma seem to hinder sexual development in their
hosts to the point of uselessness. Number 7 Trebius Shiinoi
Trebius Shiinoi larvae, which typically infect Japanese angel sharks, will seek out the reproductive
canal of a female host. After creeping their way through the canal
the larvae become permanently attached to the inner lining of the host’s uterus. Trebius Shiinoi belongs to a broad category
of parasitic crustaceans known as anchor worms. Once such a parasite latches on to a host,
it cements its head into the tissue and loses all of its limbs. It then starts maturing into a worm-like tassel
which is soft and immobile. While most anchor worms attach themselves
to the outside of a host, there are certain species that are more specialized. They will become embedded in a fish’s anus,
mouth, gills or even the eyeballs. Even those that attach themselves to the skin
might still send a bloodsucking tendril into a host’s vital organ. Number 6 Epioplasma Triquetra
This freshwater mollusk is native to North America, where it’s listed as an endangered
species. In 2004 it was discovered that Epioplasma
triquetra, also known as the snuffbox mollusk, engages in a violent behavior when it spreads
its larvae. During the larval stage, these mollusks are
known to use the skin, fins or gills of a host fish for nutrients. The creepiest part is how the larvae get onto
the fish in the first place. The female snuffbox will first lure unsuspecting
fish to them. Then, using its shell, lined with sharp little
teeth, it will clamp down on the fish’s head and proceed to pump the larvae into its
gills. The common logperch is the mollusk’s primary
choice as host for its larvae because it’s the only fish tough enough to survive the
violent encounter. Number 5 Tapeworms
Tapeworms have a well-earned reputation as some of the worst parasites in the world,
particularly for what they can do to humans. The eggs of these intestinal parasites may
be transmitted through soil or fecal matter but most people usually swallow them through
under-cooked meat. Without sufficient heat to kill the tapeworm
eggs, they can eventually make their way to a human’s digestive system. Once there, the eggs hatch and the larvae
become adults by feeding on nutrients in the intestinal wall. Some adult tapeworms are hermaphrodites they
can produce more eggs. The symptoms of tapeworm infection are often
very difficult to detect. That’s why some may live inside the human
body for decades, causing various conditions including malnutrition and a bloated stomach. During this time they can also grow to incredible
lengths and there have been reports of tapeworms extracted from human bodies that measured
up to 30 feet from end to end. Number 4 Macrocheles Rettenmeyeri
This tiny mite is known for its rather fascinating parasitic relationship with the army ant. Macrocheles rettenmeyeri will attach itself
to the leg of an army ant from which it steadily sucks blood. However, this doesn’t mean the ant has lost
the functioning of its leg. The mite will use its own legs whenever pressed
against a surface. The mite doesn’t disrupt its host as the
main objective is to feed. The parasite basically acts as a foot, albeit
a slightly more effective one as it has eight tiny feet at the end of it. This might prove particularly useful for army
ants, as they are known to create linking structures with their bodies. The mites were named after American biologist
Carl Rettenmeyer, who was the first to study them. In his extensive work on parasitic mites living
with ants, Rettenmeyer also observed other mite species, some of which lived in the ants’
eyes or at the base of their mandibles. Number 3 Ribeiroia
Flatworms from the Ribeiroia genus have been linked with causing the development of limb
malformations in toads, frogs and salamander species. Ribeiroia ondatrae cercariae, for example,
are known to infect the developing limbs of amphibians in their larval state. They drill themselves into the buds that will
eventually grow into legs. This can cause horrible malformations which
often consist of misshapen, extraneous members. These malformations severely hinder the host’s
ability to swim or jump thus making them more vulnerable towards predators. However, amphibian larvae are only the second
intermediate host for Ribeiroia parasites as their life cycle involves a complex sequence
in the food chain. First, their free-swimming larvae will typically
infect a freshwater snail. Once this happens, they will develop into
worm-like parasites which castrate the snail as they feed on its reproductive tissue. After about six weeks, they enter a second,
free-swimming form called cercariae. That’s when they’ll become attached to
amphibian larvae or fish, where they enter a dormant parasite form called metacercariae. The fish or amphibian is then consumed by
a bird or mammal, which becomes the parasitic definitive host. The parasite will emerge from its dormant
stage and attach itself to the host’s intestinal tract where it will develop into an adult. Number 2 Sacculina Carcini
It’s terrifying to imagine a parasite that can do to humans the same things that Sacculina
carcini does to the green crab. This parasitic barnacle will find a way to
enter a crab and proceed to move through its insides. While it’s doing this it will release a
sac on the underside of the crab’s abdomen. The remaining part of the parasite will develop
into tendrils that grow throughout the crab’s insides, absorbing nourishment and controlling
the crab’s behavior. It slows down the development of the crab’s
reproductive glands and can cause male crabs to develop feminine characteristics, such
as wider abdomens. If the parasite is taken out of the host,
females will normally regenerate their ovaries but males start to develop ovarian tissue
as sex reversal takes place. Sacculina carcini eggs develop externally
and the crabs will carry them around as if they were their own brood. The parasite manipulates the behavior of its
host to the point that it no longer grows, moults or regenerates lost limbs. Number 1 Cymothoa Exigua
Cymothoa exigua is probably the creepiest parasite on this list. It’s among the few known parasitic creatures
that functionally replace one of its host’s organs. Cymothoa exigua will use its claws to latch
on to a fish’s tongue and slowly begin to feed by severing blood vessels. As it consumes all the blood in the tongue,
the organ becomes atrophied and falls off. The parasite then attaches itself to the remaining
stub and functionally acts as the fish’s tongue. From that point on Cymothoa exigua feeds on
the blood of its host and fish mucus. This reportedly doesn’t cause much damage
to the host. However, fish that have one or more of these
parasites, which also may attach themselves to the gills, tend to be underweight. Once its host dies, Cymothoa exigua leaves
its mouth cavity and clings to the outside of its body. Not much is known about what happens to the
parasite once it becomes completely detached. Thanks for watching! What other creepy parasites do you know? Tell us about them in the comment section
below!

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45 thoughts on “9 Creepy Parasites You’ll NEVER Want to Encounter

  1. I've encountered Cymothoa Exigua several times now, i've seen it with my own eyes and i even touched it… And what i noticed is, when the fish dies, it dies too. It doesn't crawl out of its host

  2. It's so comforting to know that an all loving supreme being created all these wonderful creatures. A system where almost everything feeds on the young of something else. Did my sarcasm come through? 🙂

  3. So except for some people having an allergic reaction to the Tarantula Hawk, how do these kill me? Isn't that the name of your channel? Fear mongering is parasitic in itself so you might want to add yourself to this list.

  4. May I ask a question, can any of these parasites effect humans, I know tape worms can but what about all the rest, please answer because I am scared!!!

  5. I would like to know about Fluke worm and removing it organically from humans. Also my theory is cancer is parasitic. It is a living life form with over 200 strains.

  6. One is known as kethleeniss Kennedis and it attaches itself to space operas and turns them into feminist dog shit. A common side effect is
    1. Bad characters
    2. Agendas of the bullshit verity
    And 3. The death of something once amazing (usually takes about 3 movies to do so or 5 years in time) 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

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