Sacculinas enters a crab, matures, then emerges as a large sac beneath the crab. It is able to control the hormones of the male crab, making it look and act like a female crab.
Ophiocordyceps unilateralis starts its life under plant leaves where it grows into a predatory fungus targeting insects like the Carpenter ant. After the infection, it erupts from the ant’s head to scatter spores and infect other ants.
The nematode Anisakis causes a parasitic infection in humans called Anisakiasis, which targets the gastrointestinal tract.
This bacterium infests more than 70% of all invertebrates in the world. To reproduce, they attach themselves to the female eggs where they are transferred to the next insect generation.
Also known as Jiggers, this type of parasite, which is known to be the smallest type of flea, finds its way to a mammal’s feet and eats it’s tissue.
These parasitic wasps lay their eggs inside their victims and upon hatching their children consume the host.
Apart from infesting other fish by attaching itself to the aortal arteries in fish’s gills, this parasitic pencil catfish is also able to infest humans who are fond of urinating underwater.
This protozoan is a common and nasty enemy to birds. Infected birds of prey suffer serious lacerations in their lower beak, throat and mouth. A severe infection will eventually starve the victim to death.
Sand fly protozoans
Skin Leishmaniasis is the skin disease caused by the sand fly bite, but a more serious infection can lead to anemia and even enlargement of the liver and spleen.
This tiny parasite targets red snappers by entering the fish and eventually ending up at the base of the victims’s tongue. Here, it digs until eventually the tongue falls off and is replaced by the parasite itself.
The Trypanosoma parasites are carried by the tritomid kissing bug (pictured above) and are released in the feces deposited on the skin of the host. The parasite then penetrates the host and disseminates throughout the body.
Toxoplasma Gondii is a common parasite found in humans and other warm-blooded animals. Within infected infants and people with weak immunity it can lead to the fatal illness called Toxoplasmosis.
Also called the Screw Worm Fly, this parasite lays its larvae on a warm-blooded animal’s exposed flesh. When the maggots hatch, they burrow into the flesh of the host while feeding. If the wound is disturbed the larvae burrows deeper.
The Horsehair worm infects insects via stagnant water and once inside, grows up to a foot long feeding on the insect’s tissues.
Besides the West Nile virus, mosquitoes also carry Filarial worms which travel to the lymphatic system and are responsible for the condition know as Elephantitis.
The Loa (also known as the “eye-infesting worm”) penetrates the body through the bite of a deerfly. They wander under the skin, staying in the bloodstream during the day and infesting the lungs during the night.
The Clostridum Perfringens is a nasty parasite that causes the condition called Gas gangrene. This devastating condition literally melts your flesh into fluid and kills you in 12 hours.
Also called Flatworm or Schistosoma, researchers rank the infection caused by this parasite right next to Malaria in term of infestation.
Once it bites a human, microscopic larvae break through the skin, mature and reproduce exponentially. Over a hundred million microscopic worms invade every part of your body eventually causing blindness.
Being infected with N. Menigitidis causes blood to stop flowing to your limbs winch makes your limbs rot and your pulse literally nonexistent. It also adversely affects mental and intellectual capabilities.
Tsetse flies can transmit parasites that cross into the nervous system leading to confusion, sensory disturbance, and poor coordination.
The Guinea worm enters the body through water fleas ingested from stagnant water and can grow up to 2-3 feet. Upon maturity, the worm burrows to the surface and exits the body by creating a blister on the human skin.
The anopeheles mosquito carries the Plasmodium parasite responsible for causing Malaria. It attacks the liver until it infects the red blood cells leading to decreased blood flow which can be life threatening.
This brain-eating amoeba lives in warm bodies of waters. Early symptoms of infection include fever, headache, and vomiting and if not treated, death can occur within seven to fourteen days.
The Leucochlordium Paradoxum (try to say that 10 times fast) is a devilish parasite that targets snails. The parasite works its way to the snail’s eyestalks; altering its look and behavior in order to appear and act as a green caterpillar, thus attracting caterpillar-consuming birds which is where it does its real damage.