Look Into The Face Of Gnathostoma Spinigerum, A Worm That Infects Eels… And People
A team of U.S. researchers found the microscopic worms in 28 percent of eels sold live in U.S. markets.
by Francie Diep
Aww, aren’t they cute? These are scanning electron microscope images of nematodes of the species Gnathostoma spinigerum. You could get these little critters from eating imported eels that are sold live in markets. Adorbs!
The images come from a new paper published in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases. A team of U.S. Geological Survey scientists bought 47 swamp eels of the species Monopterus cuchia from markets in Atlanta, Georgia; Orlando, Florida; and New York City’s Manhattan Chinatown. Thirteen of the eels had Gnathostoma spinigerum nematodes, which are able to infect humans when they (the nematodes) are just the right age…
(read more: Popular Science)
images: Rebecca A. Cole et al., Emerging Infectious Diseases

Look Into The Face Of Gnathostoma Spinigerum, A Worm That Infects Eels… And People

A team of U.S. researchers found the microscopic worms in 28 percent of eels sold live in U.S. markets.

by Francie Diep

Aww, aren’t they cute? These are scanning electron microscope images of nematodes of the species Gnathostoma spinigerum. You could get these little critters from eating imported eels that are sold live in markets. Adorbs!

The images come from a new paper published in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases. A team of U.S. Geological Survey scientists bought 47 swamp eels of the species Monopterus cuchia from markets in Atlanta, Georgia; Orlando, Florida; and New York City’s Manhattan Chinatown. Thirteen of the eels had Gnathostoma spinigerum nematodes, which are able to infect humans when they (the nematodes) are just the right age…

(read more: Popular Science)

images: Rebecca A. Cole et al., Emerging Infectious Diseases

What are Bat Flies?
Bat flies are highly modified true flies. They are members of the order Diptera, and currently are grouped into two families, the Nycteribiidae, and the Streblidae. They are also bloodsucking ectoparasites, living in the fur, or on the wing membranes of bats.
Nycteribiidae are wingless, have reduced eyes, and a spiderlike appearance. This is because their legs actually insert dorsally into the thorax.  Streblidae have varying degrees of wing reduction, and appear more like a regular fly. They also have reduced eyes. All bat flies are viviparous, meaning that a third larval stage is borne from the female fly, which is then glued to a structure in the surroundings of the roost. Once deposited, the larva immediately pupates. Depending on the species, these pupae may be located close to the roost, or at quite some distance from the roost…
(read more: Bat Fly Research - SUNY Buffalo)    
(image: Penicillidia monoceros (female), Taken off of a Northern Bat (Eptesicus nilssonii) ; taken by Brundlefly @ Diptera.info)

What are Bat Flies?

Bat flies are highly modified true flies. They are members of the order Diptera, and currently are grouped into two families, the Nycteribiidae, and the Streblidae. They are also bloodsucking ectoparasites, living in the fur, or on the wing membranes of bats.

Nycteribiidae are wingless, have reduced eyes, and a spiderlike appearance. This is because their legs actually insert dorsally into the thorax.  Streblidae have varying degrees of wing reduction, and appear more like a regular fly. They also have reduced eyes. All bat flies are viviparous, meaning that a third larval stage is borne from the female fly, which is then glued to a structure in the surroundings of the roost. Once deposited, the larva immediately pupates. Depending on the species, these pupae may be located close to the roost, or at quite some distance from the roost…

(read more: Bat Fly Research - SUNY Buffalo)    

(image: Penicillidia monoceros (female), Taken off of a Northern Bat (Eptesicus nilssonii) ; taken by Brundlefly @ Diptera.info)

brianerosephotography asked:

Hello! I absolutely love your blog. I just recently went on an oceanography field trip to Port Aransas, Texas and we got to see the BIGGEST isopod our guide had ever encountered. It was pulled out of a croaker's mouth that we caught while trawling. How will the croaker be impacted? I'd love to know more about these kind of disturbingly horrible critters and I thought you'd be a great person to ask! Thanks for being fantastic! And HAPPY HALLOWEEN ^_^

Parasitic Isopods

Oh awesome, the beaches and the marshes at Port Aransas are beautiful!

Well some parasitic isopods attach to the inside of the mouth and feed on what the fish is feeding on, while others feed on mucous or blood from the fish itself. Many of these isopods cause negligible damage to the fish, and don’t seem to affect it in the long term. Some parasitic isopods that attach to the gills and draw blood from them can apparently inhibit further growth of the fish and cause it to generally slow down in its daily life. I assume these individuals are less likely to mate successfully and to escape predation

In the case of Cymothoa exigua, it appears that it atrophies the tongue of the fish by drawing off blood, and then replaces the fish’s tongue with it’s own body… it then feeds off of food the fish is eating. It is believed that it doesnt harm the fish further than this. Yes, strangely enough, the fish is able to live relatively unharmed with a parasitic isopod for a tongue!

Vampire Finches (Geospiza difficilis septrionalis)
This bird is most famous for its unusual diet. The Vampire Finch occasionally feeds by drinking the blood of other birds, chiefly the Nazca and Blue-footed Boobies, pecking at their skin with their sharp beaks until blood is drawn. Curiously, the boobies do not offer much resistance against this. It has been theorized that this behavior evolved from the pecking behavior that the finch used to clean parasites from the plumage of the booby. The finches also feed on eggs, stealing them just after they are laid and rolling them (by pushing with their legs and using their beak as a pivot) into rocks until they break…

(read more: Wikipedia)  (photo via: Animal Vampires)

Vampire Finches (Geospiza difficilis septrionalis)

This bird is most famous for its unusual diet. The Vampire Finch occasionally feeds by drinking the blood of other birds, chiefly the Nazca and Blue-footed Boobies, pecking at their skin with their sharp beaks until blood is drawn. Curiously, the boobies do not offer much resistance against this. It has been theorized that this behavior evolved from the pecking behavior that the finch used to clean parasites from the plumage of the booby. The finches also feed on eggs, stealing them just after they are laid and rolling them (by pushing with their legs and using their beak as a pivot) into rocks until they break…

(read more: Wikipedia)  (photo via: Animal Vampires)

The Thrip Mite (Adactylidium), a Tale of Incest and Matricide!
Adactylidium is a genus of mites known for its unusual life cycle. The pregnant female mite feeds upon a single egg of a thrips, growing five to eight female offspring and one male in her body. The offspring devour their mother from the inside out, and the single male mite mates with all the daughters when they are  still in the mother. The females, now impregnated, cut holes in their  mother’s body so that they can emerge to find new thrips eggs. The male  emerges as well, but does not look for food or new mates, and dies after  a few hours. The females die at the age of 4 days, when their own  offspring eat them alive from the inside.
(text via: Wikipedia)   (photo via: Suededeutsche)

The Thrip Mite (Adactylidium), a Tale of Incest and Matricide!

Adactylidium is a genus of mites known for its unusual life cycle. The pregnant female mite feeds upon a single egg of a thrips, growing five to eight female offspring and one male in her body. The offspring devour their mother from the inside out, and the single male mite mates with all the daughters when they are still in the mother. The females, now impregnated, cut holes in their mother’s body so that they can emerge to find new thrips eggs. The male emerges as well, but does not look for food or new mates, and dies after a few hours. The females die at the age of 4 days, when their own offspring eat them alive from the inside.

(text via: Wikipedia)   (photo via: Suededeutsche)

Horsehair Worms, Parasites on Insects
The adults are mostly free living in freshwater or marine environments, and males and females aggregate into tight balls (Gordian knots) during mating. The  larvae are parasitic on beetles, cockroaches, orthopterans, and crustaceans.
In Spinochordodes tellinii, which has orthopterans (crickets, grasshoppers, and katydids) as its vector,  the infection acts on the insect’s brain and causes it to seek water  and drown itself, thus returning the nematomorph to water. They are also remarkably able to survive the predation of their host,  being able to wriggle out of the predator that has eaten the host…
(read more: Wikipedia)
(photo: Spinochordodes tellinii and its katydid host, D. Andreas Schmidt-Rhaesa)

Horsehair Worms, Parasites on Insects

The adults are mostly free living in freshwater or marine environments, and males and females aggregate into tight balls (Gordian knots) during mating. The larvae are parasitic on beetles, cockroaches, orthopterans, and crustaceans.

In Spinochordodes tellinii, which has orthopterans (crickets, grasshoppers, and katydids) as its vector, the infection acts on the insect’s brain and causes it to seek water and drown itself, thus returning the nematomorph to water. They are also remarkably able to survive the predation of their host, being able to wriggle out of the predator that has eaten the host…

(read more: Wikipedia)

(photo: Spinochordodes tellinii and its katydid host, D. Andreas Schmidt-Rhaesa)

Horsehair Worms
by John L. Capinera
This relatively small group of large worms (phylum Nematomorpha) is found throughout world, but usually is restricted to areas near water.  About 11 species occur in the United States. These worms resemble nematodes, but are very long, usually 30 to 40 cm but sometimes 120 cm in length, and quite narrow in diameter, often only 1 mm.  The adults are featureless, with a blunt head and slightly swollen tail.  The color is usually mauve-brown to black.  The sexes are separate…
(read more: Univ. of Florida)   (photo: Ian Sutton)  

Horsehair Worms

by John L. Capinera

This relatively small group of large worms (phylum Nematomorpha) is found throughout world, but usually is restricted to areas near water. About 11 species occur in the United States. These worms resemble nematodes, but are very long, usually 30 to 40 cm but sometimes 120 cm in length, and quite narrow in diameter, often only 1 mm. The adults are featureless, with a blunt head and slightly swollen tail. The color is usually mauve-brown to black. The sexes are separate…

(read more: Univ. of Florida)   (photo: Ian Sutton)  

Parasite Creating Deformed Frogs in Western U.S.
by Christine Dell’Amore
Amphibians with “sick and twisted” deformities continue to be widespread in the western United States, new research says. A flatworm parasite called Ribeiroia ondatrae infects several species of frogs just as they’re developing their limbs, causing an assortment of defects such as no legs or even multiple legs that jut out at weird angles from the frogs’ bodies scientists say.
The deformed frogs are often unable to move and either die or quickly get eaten by predators.  Scientists already knew that the parasite was the culprit in the frog malformations, but the researchers wanted to find out whether known hot spots of Ribeiroia populations in four western states had changed since they were last surveyed in 1999. So in 2010 Pieter Johnson, an ecologist at the University of Colorado at Boulder, and colleagues gathered data on frogs and parasites in 48 wetlands in California, Oregon, Washington, and Montana.  The scientists found that the parasite infections were still pervasive in amphibians at the study sites…
(read more: National Geo)  
(photo: Pacific Chorus Frog, Dave Herasimtschuk, Freshwaters Illustrated)

Parasite Creating Deformed Frogs in Western U.S.

by Christine Dell’Amore

Amphibians with “sick and twisted” deformities continue to be widespread in the western United States, new research says. A flatworm parasite called Ribeiroia ondatrae infects several species of frogs just as they’re developing their limbs, causing an assortment of defects such as no legs or even multiple legs that jut out at weird angles from the frogs’ bodies scientists say.

The deformed frogs are often unable to move and either die or quickly get eaten by predators.  Scientists already knew that the parasite was the culprit in the frog malformations, but the researchers wanted to find out whether known hot spots of Ribeiroia populations in four western states had changed since they were last surveyed in 1999. So in 2010 Pieter Johnson, an ecologist at the University of Colorado at Boulder, and colleagues gathered data on frogs and parasites in 48 wetlands in California, Oregon, Washington, and Montana.  The scientists found that the parasite infections were still pervasive in amphibians at the study sites…

(read more: National Geo)  

(photo: Pacific Chorus Frog, Dave Herasimtschuk, Freshwaters Illustrated)

Ichneumonidae
… a family within the insect order Hymenoptera. Insects in this family are commonly called ichneumon wasps. Ichneumon wasps are important parasitoids of other insects. Common hosts are larvae and pupae of Coleoptera, Hymenoptera, and Lepidoptera. There are over 60,000 species worldwide, and approximately 3,000 in North America - more than any  other Hymenoptera family. The distribution of Ichneumonidae is one of  the most notable exceptions to the common latitudinal gradient in species diversity because it shows greater speciation at high latitudes than at low latitudes.
Charles Darwin discussed the Ichneumonidae with regard to his views on religion; see Darwin and the Ichneumonidae…
(read more: Wikipedia)  
(photo:Cremastine wasp from Tanzania, by   Muhammad Mahdi Karim)

Ichneumonidae

… a family within the insect order Hymenoptera. Insects in this family are commonly called ichneumon wasps. Ichneumon wasps are important parasitoids of other insects. Common hosts are larvae and pupae of Coleoptera, Hymenoptera, and Lepidoptera. There are over 60,000 species worldwide, and approximately 3,000 in North America - more than any other Hymenoptera family. The distribution of Ichneumonidae is one of the most notable exceptions to the common latitudinal gradient in species diversity because it shows greater speciation at high latitudes than at low latitudes.

Charles Darwin discussed the Ichneumonidae with regard to his views on religion; see Darwin and the Ichneumonidae

(read more: Wikipedia)  

(photo:Cremastine wasp from Tanzania, by Muhammad Mahdi Karim)

The Candiru (Vandellia cirrhosa)  ”I WANT TO PUT MY EVIL INSIDE OF YOU!
Also called, El carnero. Everyone who spends much time in South America, especially near water, learns about this fish. They tend to live more commonly in bodies of “black water”, bodies of water that have turned blackish with tannins and other chemicals from dead vegetation, very much the way tea is made. It’s a small cylindrical species of catfish, in the family Trichmycteridae, that makes a living by entering and attaching themselves within the gill chambers of live fish, and feeding on blood from the gills.
Of course, they are better known for the practice of… well… entering the urethras of humans. Meowch! Once inside, if at all disturbed, they extend small spurs into the walls of the urethra and are only removable by surgery. As you can imagine, this is rather painful, and can lead to infections… in your urethra  (-____-).
Luckily, its actually pretty easy to avoid candiru entering you. They are attracted to the urethra, when people (or other mammals) urinate in the water. Despite what we are often told, they do not swim up the stream of urine of those out of the water who are peeing into the water. They only enter the urethras of those urinating while in the water. It’s believed that they are attracted to urea or ammonia, or perhaps that they mistake the rush of fluid from urination for that of the water escaping a fishes gill chambers during respiration. So how to avoid candiru gettin all up in it? If you go swimming in South America, wear tight fitting swim wear or swim wear with a liner.
There… it’s that easy. Now go swimming in the Rio Negro in Brazil or Lagarto Cocha in Ecuador, and pee in the water all you want, without fear :3
Paxon

The Candiru (Vandellia cirrhosa)  ”I WANT TO PUT MY EVIL INSIDE OF YOU!

Also called, El carnero. Everyone who spends much time in South America, especially near water, learns about this fish. They tend to live more commonly in bodies of “black water”, bodies of water that have turned blackish with tannins and other chemicals from dead vegetation, very much the way tea is made. It’s a small cylindrical species of catfish, in the family Trichmycteridae, that makes a living by entering and attaching themselves within the gill chambers of live fish, and feeding on blood from the gills.

Of course, they are better known for the practice of… well… entering the urethras of humans. Meowch! Once inside, if at all disturbed, they extend small spurs into the walls of the urethra and are only removable by surgery. As you can imagine, this is rather painful, and can lead to infections… in your urethra  (-____-).

Luckily, its actually pretty easy to avoid candiru entering you. They are attracted to the urethra, when people (or other mammals) urinate in the water. Despite what we are often told, they do not swim up the stream of urine of those out of the water who are peeing into the water. They only enter the urethras of those urinating while in the water. It’s believed that they are attracted to urea or ammonia, or perhaps that they mistake the rush of fluid from urination for that of the water escaping a fishes gill chambers during respiration. So how to avoid candiru gettin all up in it? If you go swimming in South America, wear tight fitting swim wear or swim wear with a liner.

There… it’s that easy. Now go swimming in the Rio Negro in Brazil or Lagarto Cocha in Ecuador, and pee in the water all you want, without fear :3

Paxon