John Heaton (jheaton) wrote,
John Heaton

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Ten random things: Reader Request Month, day 32

Ten parasites:

  1. Hydnora africana, a flowering plant that grows on various trees
  2. Taenia solium, a tapeworm that lives in pigs and humans
  3. Asterophora agaricoides, a mushroom that grows on other mushrooms
  4. Orobanche hederae, a herbaceous plant that grows on ivy
  5. Rafflesia arnoldii, a flower that grows on the Tetrastigma vine
  6. Syngamus trachea, a nematode that lives in the tracheas of chickens and turkeys
  7. Tetracapsuloides bryosalmonae, a unicellular organism that lives in salmon
  8. Gremmeniella abietina, a fungus that infects coniferous forests
  9. Madurella myceomatis, a fungus that infects humans
  10. Dicrocoelium dendriticum, a liver fluke that lives in snails, ants, and cattle

Today's list is for astrablue, who had to wait longer than anyone else to see one of her requests fulfilled. She wanted to see Taenia solium mentioned in a list. Actually, she wanted to see it featured in an art post, and while I tried very hard to find a work of art featuring that particular tapeworm, I was unsuccessful. I couldn't find a poem about it either, but that at least I could do something about. To wit:

Parasite Schmarasite
Taenia solium
Found inside pigs and men
But not in art

With her great fondness for
I'd surely find it in
astrablue's heart

Anyway. Let me say a word here about the last organism on the list above, because it has a pretty interesting life cycle. Its eggs are found in cattle dung, and are eaten by snails. The eggs hatch inside the snail, and the larvae burrow into the snail's digestive gland, whereupon they leave the snail via slime trails. Later, ants come along and eat the snail slime, thereby ingesting the flukes as well. Once inside the ant, the fluke use some kind of freaky mind-control trick to compel the ant to leave the colony at night and hang out on tall blades of grass until they are eaten by grazing cattle, whereupon the fluke migrates to the cow's liver and the whole cycle begins anew. And that's what they call "intelligent design."


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