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Parasitic Stoner Worm tries to burrow into my hand

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Published on May 10, 2010

Hideous parasitic larva Ottoia hæmophaga collected in the Dolores River in Stoner, Colorado attempts to gain entry through the skin of my palm. The smallest cut is enough for it to tunnel its way in with hooked rasps on its mandibles. Then it will make its way into my lymphatic system, ending up in my spleen, where red blood cells are destroyed when they start to get old. Ottoia situates itself in the spleen and consumes colossal amounts of destroyed blood. This parasite can swell to an astounding 343mm and can take up to three years to pupate. Once the worm has attained a threshold size, it chews into the large intestine and defecates, releasing a mild toxin. The host's colon immediately evacuates the toxin and the worm with it. It then crawls into a low, wet space and builds a tough fibrous cocoon. Over the course of a few weeks, its body liquefies, then small paired plates of tissue called imaginal discs activate in each segment. The discs instruct the liquid tissue to re-build itself into a chitinous, segmented creature with ten legs, two sets of antennae, and gills. The adults emerge after the first rainfall of summer and slither through the sleepy streets of Stoner in the starlight. The female Ottoia haemophaga uses her Tömösvary organs to detect large concentrations of mammals, usually bats or hibernating rodents. She requires a blood meal to bring her eggs to full maturity. The closest building to the Dolores River is the Stoner Orphanage. If you're still reading this, I hope you've realized it's a joke. This is actually a cranefly larva, probably Hexatoma, who blundered into my net in the Dolores River in Stoner, Colorado, April 1, 2010.
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