Jul 19, 2008

Look into My Eyes

This isn't a post about snails. This is a post about brainwashing parasites.

Some of you will recall (with weeping and wailing) my
post on the video of a snail whose eye stalks had become occupied by a pair of caterpillar-like larvae who had commandeered the snail's nervous system, forced the mollusk into the open, only to have its eye stalks devoured by a passing bird.

Well, lookee below for a still of that scene. One of the many freakish aspects of this parasitical circle of life (Elton John on three...) is that the snail is rarely killed. Once its eyestalks have been plucked off, it regains control of its senses and is able to return to a relatively normal snail existence, albeit with years of psychotherapy ahead of it.

Thanks for the reminder, Ida.

Photo source: Ondrej


Denita TwoDragons said...

I'm pregnant and I just ate breakfast. You're not a very nice person, Wombat!

Honestly though--I thought you "...avoid the simply tragic, diseased, or maimed", anyways? I'd say these poor snails cover all three adjectives.

I'm going to go throw up...ugh...


Raging Wombat said...

Sorry, Denita. I'm a bit lax on that rule when it comes to invertabrates. You'd be amazed at what I filter out. People send me pictures of roadkill, slaughter houses, skinned pig faces, ulcerous wounds, even deformed children. Mine isn't always the easiest job...

Congrats on the pregnancy!

Annica said...

Omg Wombat... It took me weeks of therapy to get that video out of my head, nearly vomiting everytime I díd think about it. I have never seen anything more gross than two (or more) larvae moving back and forth inside a lovely little snalio. And then his eyes get eaten and the whole thing starts all over again! Its barbaric!

*Now where did I leave that number of the therapist...*

Anonymous said...

Yo folks, if you made the mistake of watching that video, I heartily recommend going over to Cute Overload and feasting your eyes on the little bunny they've got over there today. It will make eeeeeeverything better.

Ondřej Zicha said...

Oh, that's actually my photograph! I'm reading this blog for some time but I didn't expect to see my images here (not that I mind, on the contrary) There's lots of these parasites in our garden, quite a sight :-)

See here for some more images - http://www.biolib.cz/en/taxon/id43835/ (EOL uses images from partner projects, BioLib is my site).

By the way I'm not sure about the bird eating just the snail eyes. The snails are quite tasty, I believe they're eaten whole (tho I'm not completely sure)

Annica said...

@ ondrej; I love that last photo, where the snail is on top of some leaf.
And if you see the video, you see and hear that only the eye(s) get eaten. The eye-thingies grow back and will be taken over by a new larvea that was already inhabiting the snails body. The snail can live its whole live with those parasites inside him or her.

Raging Wombat said...

Thanks, Ondrej. I've updated my citation and link.