I found the craziest video on youtube this morning when I was searching for the clips Alessandra and Sam showed us at the beginning of class on Thursday. Weirdly enough, I came by another video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4PB4SjX8QkA) which is equally as intriguing. It was done by Animal Planet, and it describes one of the most complicated life cycles on the planet – that of a parasite which infests the brain of ants. Although many important details are left out, such as the name of the parasite being discussed, the video does give a great overview of the amazingly complex set of steps needed for this parasite to continue existing. Basically, it happens like this:
-The parasite is consumed by the ant and travels to the ant’s brain
-The parasite causes the ant to climb to the end of a piece of grass and clamp on with it’s jaws, where it can remain dangling for up to 8 weeks (at this point, the ant is breathing but all other systems are paralyzed)
-A cute rabbit hops by and eats the ant
-Inside the rabbit, the ant releases lots and lots of eggs, which are then excreted in the rabbit’s feces
-A snail eats the eggs. The eggs are so irritating to the snail that it produces copious amounts of mucus to surround the egg
-There is so much mucus that the snail must cough it – and and the egg – up
-The ant loves snail mucus, and eats the parasite egg. The parasite travels to the ant’s brain. BAM.
Weirdest, most complex, smartest life cycle ever. Sapolsky was right, I feel dumb.