The Top 10 Zombie Parasites

It seems like this always happens – as soon as I post an entry (or while I do), some other blog posts something similar. Neatorama, for example, posted about the very same zombie ants I mentioned not 4 hours after I did. This same sort of thing has happened several times before. Conspiracy? Doubtful – unquestionably a coincidence, as this is a pretty small blog. Maybe it’s the collective unconscious. Or maybe a few people read or hear about the same thing, and it makes them think of this other thing. Who knows.

Anyway, more to the point, an intrepid soul has compiled a list of the top ten zombie parasites. You can find the list here. Many of these are disturbing, but I find number eight particularly unnerving:

Once known as “horse hair” worms because they would appear mysteriously
in horse troughs, Gordian worms spend their parasitic larval stage
within the bodies of insects, especially crickets, but spend their
non-parasitic adult stage in water. Crickets aren’t known for their
swimming ability, but try telling that to a parasitic nematode (really,
try it. They don’t even comprehend English, it’s ridiculous.) When it’s
time for adulthood, the worm compels its cricket to seek out the nearest
body of water and dive right in. The confused cricket usually drowns, while the worm wriggles free to find itself a mate.

I think it’s the Gordian worm’s appearance that really does it for me. Check out this uncomfortably-creepy video of a worm emerging from a cricket: