WARNING: Some of the most vile parasites lurk below our waters.
These parasitic pests will invade a living body, drink its blood, manipulate one’s gender and even replace vital organs with their own.
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The Trematoda are a class of foul flatworms found in the innards of lancetfish and mollusks such as sea snails. The parasitic pests are known as Botulus microporus, also the Trematoda, and are a species that infest the intestines of its victims, typically infecting two different hosts in the course of their life.
10. Glugea Stephani
Next is the Glugea stephani, a fungal parasite commonly found in flatfish species. Going straight for the gut, these guys are classified as a class of microsporidian parasite— infecting the cells of their hosts and invading organs and tissues. Results of a parasitic infection appear as a hideous and bulging growth of matter on the sides of unsuspecting ocean swimmers.
9. The Eye Maggot of Sprat
These organisms known as the ‘Eye Maggot of Sprat’ sound more noble landowners than they do a disease-ridden parasite. As the name suggests, these vile invertebrates live on the eye of sprat fish and carry with them two egg sacs— protruding like blue appendages from the eye of its beholder.
8. Schistocephalus solidu
The wrath of the Schistocephalus solidus comes in threefold. The horrific looking hermaphroditic tapeworm inhibits three victims and is even capable of mind-alteration. This parasite species first forages for copepods— tiny crustaceans that dwell on ocean floors. These underwater creatures exist passively unaware of the dangers awaiting, as they consume the parasitic larvae inhabiting like waters.
7. The Cod Worm
If you felt bad for the unsuspecting copepod crustacean mentioned before, don’t. This form of blood-sucking parasite called the cod worm is a marine copepod that attaches itself to the surface of its hosts. The icky invertebrate infects two victims in the duration of its repulsive rein— first any bottom feeder such as the lump sucker or monkfish and finally, a cod fish.
6. Spirometra erinaceieuropae
These peculiar parasites know as S. erinaceieuropae, are usually imported from areas like China, and violates their victims through drinking water contaminated by diseased crustaceans. Ingesting raw reptiles or frogs as a delicacy, or the use of a topical sore-eye solution containing raw frog poultice can do the trick, yet these instances aren’t as common.
5. The Vampire Fish
This one should come with its own warning label. The small eel-like candiru (Vandellia cirrhosa) can be found in the Amazon, feeding off other fish by swimming into their gills and feasting off their blood. Locals remain leery of its contact with humans, saying that the bloodsucking candiru can prey on people by entering any orifice by lodging itself deep inside with backward-facing spines.
4. The Brain Eating Amoeba
Warm bodies of water keep the Naegleria fowleri happy, as do brains. This single-celled, brain-eating amoeba is known to pervade open waters and permit themselves entry into the olfactory glands of any underwater animal. The brainy amoeba will travel through nose glands responsible for the detection of odors which send subsequent signals to the brain, gaining the parasite a free ride to the cerebrum. Once inside, infection of the brain ensues, and inflammation leads to a whole host of other neurological symptoms that render a fatality rate of 100%.
3. Rhizocephalan barnacles or better yet, Sacculina
Barnacles do more than adorn hard underwater surfaces and the occasional whale—this rare species of hard-shell crustacean is a barnacle with the given name Sacculina. Sounds appropriate, as this parasite is known to sack of an unsuspecting opponent and steal it for its own.
2. Guinea-Worm Disease
This one isn’t so bad. The disease caused by a parasitic worm known as Dracununculus medinensis consists of the larvae of the guinea worm ingested by water fleas. If humans come into contact with untreated water containing said infected fleas, stomach acid will dissolve the intruders and release the larvae. Once the larvae have been set free inside the host body, they will proceed to burrow themselves through the intestinal wall; then, the guinea worms will undergo maturity with some growing up to eighty centimeters in length.
1. The Tongue Eating Louse
The cheeky Cymothoa exigua is a protandric hermaphrodite parasite— in other words, can morph this male into a female when necessary. But first, the sneaky Cymothoa, also known as the tongue-eating Louse, selects a host fish to enter through its gills to begin its exciting life transformation.