Dec 22, 2007

Parasitic Castration

Jade, one of our resident arachnophiles, forwarded this lovely set of photos. You're looking at what happens when a Mermithid (almost a pretty word) worm (not a pretty word) reaches maturity.

Here's a quote from the post on What's That Bug:

Mermithid worms are internal parasites whose infective larvae enter spiders directly or via ingested food. Once inside the spider, the tiny worm obtains nourishment from it's hosts body fluids, digestive glands, gonads ('parasitic castration') and muscles...Eventually in a scene reminiscent of the movie "Alien", the gorged worm bursts out of the body of the debilitated spider, which finally dies after this macabre event...

This worm, like others I've posted on, often directs its host to seek water in its final moments of life.

Thanks, Jade. Spiders and Alien-style parasites in one post. I'll never be the same.




14 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am terrified.

Jade said...

This is one of the main reasons I only buy very young captive bred spiders and I breed my own food for them. You never know if you're going to get these kinds of things spreading through a whole collection.

Truly horrifying!

Erin said...

Ah, so that's the parasite I saw in a writhing bundle next to a deflated-looking spider on that rainy day... (Before I had thought it was a species of hairworm.)

amandacheryl said...

merry christmas to u too....

Anonymous said...

Happy holidays, crotch worm, happy holidays.

Meg said...

I think I just threw up in my mouth a little. D=

membracid said...

A better source on Mermithid nematodes:

http://www.uoguelph.ca/pdc/Factsheets/Other/MermithidNematodes.htm

"What that bug" is a bit of a spam farm :(

Another nice story here:
http://www.abc.net.au/science/k2/stn/spider.htm

Interestingly, a completely different group than hairworms (Nematomorpha), but similar habits.

http://extension.missouri.edu/explore/agguides/pests/g07710.htm

Hollywood has nothing on nature :D

Danielle Lea said...

GROSS.

Tragerstreit said...

Well, I'm off to take a Crying Game shower.

BTW, your link is borked. You're missing an S. It's supposed to be:

http://whatsthatbug.com/

:)

zhimbo said...

What, no video?

Arachnophile said...

Man, my love of spiders and my fascination with parasites are colliding in one big nightmare-spawning lovefest.

I hear you Jade. You are wise. I've heard some horrible stories about people's prized creatures being wiped out in the worst possible way because store-bought crickets were contaminated. *shudder* I'd be so messed up if that happened to my babies.

membracid said...

Ah! Better!
"whatthatbug" is indeed an actual website--hence my spam comment.

"what's that bug" is a much better source :)

Cozytailmom said...

Aaaaaahhhh!!!! Should have been posted with a warning...

Nonexistant Black Feather said...

nuuuuuu i purposely avoided that video for this exact reason! *dies* it looks like leaking intestines.