Carpenter ants of the Brazilian rain forest have it rough. When one of these insects gets infected by a certain fungus, it turns into a so-called “zombie ant” and is no longer in control of its actions. Manipulated by the parasite, an infected ant will leave the cozy confines of its arboreal home and head to the…
If you’ve ever had to deal with an infestation of lice, you know that these parasites really like to get in there. A horrifying new video reveals the mad acrobatic chops that enable lice to make your hair their home, flinging themselves from strand to strand with the greatest of ease.
Being healthy is good. That is what we should all aspire to be: Not dead, but with all of our flesh on our bodies intact. Unfortunately for us humans, having our flesh eaten is one of the possible side effects of being alive.
A new study shows that Toxoplasma gondii—a brain parasite often transmitted to humans by cats—triggers various changes in the human brain which potentially allow the pathogen to exacerbate several pre-existing neurological conditions. It’s a worrisome finding given that nearly one in ten Americans may be infected with…
In one of the more notorious dick-moves of the animal kingdom, parasitic cuckoo birds lay their eggs in the nests of other birds, forcing them to raise the cuckoo chicks as if they were their own. New research shows that female cuckoos conduct this bait-and-switch while scaring the crap out of their unsuspecting…
Scientists in Florida have found traces of rat lungworm in five counties, bolstering the idea that this potentially fatal parasite may be expanding its geographical range on account of—you guessed it—climate change.
Scientists have discovered a parasitic insect with a reproductive strategy straight out of an Alien movie. Dubbed the “crypt-keeper wasp,” it infects a rival species with its young, which, after hatching, proceed to chew their way out through the victim’s head.
Everybody knows that the world is filled with creepy, microscopic parasites. But a new Kurzgesagt YouTube video explains how a particular group of parasites are meaner and more disgusting that you ever could have imagined..
Officials in south Florida have been releasing troves of sterile flies in an effort to combat a parasitic maggot that eats the living tissue of warm-blooded animals—including humans.
A new study has shown that people with Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED), associated with bursts of overblown aggression, are twice as likely as healthy people to have Toxoplasma gondii. This parasite, famously carried by cats, has been shown to mess with the neurochemistry of mice. Could it be doing the same to…
Ticks—those unbreakable, blood-lusting arthropods that haunt your summer camp memories—have some fascinating genetic secrets. The tick genome tells a tale of weaponized spit, expandable armor, and how to drink 100 times one’s body weight in blood. Strangest of all, it’s utterly enormous.
Good plumbing is an overlooked, but vital, part of modern life. One of the first civilizations to really get a handle on it was the Romans. So why did the prevalence of parasites during Roman times increase compared to the Iron Age?
Intestinal worms have an incredibly bad reputation. The thought of them sneaking around inside our bodies and eating us from the inside is pretty unpleasant. But for decades, results coming out of lab after lab have shown that some kinds of helminths can be extremely beneficial to their host, and aren’t parasites at…
The 2015 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine just went to three scientists who found parasite-killing chemicals that are now important tools for fighting human diseases. But the chemicals in question weren’t created in a lab: one is produced naturally by a bacterium, the other by a plant used in a traditional…
The experience of living with a stomach parasite is not something a decent person would ever want to share. Which brings me to the point of this article: the parasites I contracted in Guatemala.
More than 300,000 households in Lancashire, England have been warned to boil their water until at least Wednesday to kill any traces of Cryptosporidium, the BBC reports. The nasty livestock parasite, which surfaced last week, probably came from a rotting animal carcass or feces, according to The Guardian. Lovely.
Allergies such as peanut allergy and hay fever make millions of us miserable, but scientists aren’t even sure why they exist. One master immunologist is offering up a controversial answer.
Roommate disputes can have some pretty gruesome consequences, but there is one case from 1970 in which one man was accused of using his research against his hated roomies. His weapon: Ascaris suum, the parasite that he was studying in school and which he allegedly used to make his roommates very ill.
Physicians in the UK were unable to explain a strange ring-like pattern moving across a patient's brain tissue in a series of scans taken over four years. During a biopsy, they were shocked to learn it was a one centimeter-long parasitic tape worm.
Parasites are nature's freeloaders, living off their hosts while giving nothing in return. But scientists have come to appreciate that even the greediest parasites can indirectly benefit other species by manipulating ecosystems—providing food, assisting predators and even building habitats.