THE Leucochloridium paradoxum PARASITE has the most bizarre life-cycle imaginable.
This is the wonder that got me started collecting cool life forms.
This parasite lives in the intestine of a bird. When it reproduces, the offspring need to spread out by getting into other birds. So:
1) It lays eggs which are excreted by the bird.
2) The eggs are eaten by snails and they hatch into larvae.
3) The larvae take over the snail’s behavior so that it stays out in the open after dark, rather than hiding under leaves or brush as snails usually do.
4) To ensure the snail gets seen, the larvae invade an eyestalk, making the snail’s tentacle pulsate like a green neon sign, telling hungry birds, “Here I am, eat me.”
5) Like magic, it’s back inside another bird’s intestines.
Clearly, nature has a sense of humor.
That is crazy!! What a parasite. Nature is so wondrous. 😀
Wow, that is so interesting.
When you say ‘collect’ does that mean you have pygmy marmosets? I find them incredible. I really want to see one.
Guess I mean collect photos. I did see pygmy marmosets at a museum in Vancouver, BC, Canada. They were amazingly cute and funny. Went back a few times. Then the museum closed.
i have a memory from age 3 or 4, of seeing tiny monkeys in a glass box when i went to canada for a day, which has always been a big mystery to me. i just found out about pygmy marmosets, and googled “pygmy marmosets bc canada” and your comment was the only thing that came up. so thank you, the mystery is now solved.
The parasite mentioned here is actually the Leucochloridium paradoxum.
Thanks for the info. IT’s amazing to me that anyone else has even heard of such a parasite, let along knows the real name. I’ll fix it.
Oh my goodness! Nature does have a good sense of humor. And is that a real picture of a pygmy marm….. oh forget the spelling of it is that a pic of an actual snail that has been taken over by the little things?
As far as I know, it’s real. I’m not positive about the picture but about the parasite I am sure. It was in a National Geographic book when I first found it.