Matthew Cobb, who has a penchant for parasites, sent me this video that was recently posted on YouTube. WARNING: if you’re squeamish you may find it distressing. But that’s nature, folks!
The caption says this:
ok so i was just editing my latest montage and this huge spider came out, so i sprayed it and killed it, then this fricken alien worm came out of it!!!
One commenter noted (and this looks accurate) that it’s a “Gordian worm,” also known as a “horsehair worm.” They constitute their own phylum, the Nematomorpha. Curiously, although they infest some terrestrial arthropods, like this spider, nematomorphs must reproduce in water. The article on the phylum in the Encyclopedia of Life notes that they might be quite devious about this:
Many types of parasites are known to modify the behavior of their host in ways that benefit the parasite. Based on anecdotal observations, it…
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