This Is One Parasite You Wouldn’t Want Getting Into Your Body

What emerges from this dead praying mantis is ridiculously frightening and disgusting.

Horsehair worms are endoparasites of arthropods, which means that they grow to maturity by feeding off the insides of things like crickets, crabs, cockroaches, beetles and, you guessed it, praying mantises.

The body diameter of these wiggly creatures is about the width of a pencil lead and they can reach lengths of up to 39 inchesSome horsehair worms even release chemicals that infect the host’s brain, commanding it to seek out a source of water and commit arthropod suicide. That’s why they are commonly found in puddles of water, ponds or on damp sidewalks after escaping from the bodies of their insect hosts.

Luckily, these parasites are not harmful to humans. Adult worms are free-living and non-parasitic. But can you imagine if one of these things actually got inside of you, took over your brain and made you drown yourself just so it could escape?

We probably shouldn’t have watched this video before lunch. Oh well.