Gruesome parasitic wasp turns social spiders into ‘zombies’

This wasp is like out of a nightmare.

Parasitic beetles trick sex-hungry bees by mimicking their pheromones

This master of deception adapts its pheromones to the local bee species, and it’s deadly effective!

Business students are more likely to have a brain parasite infection spread by cat feces

A parasite infection generally spread by cat feces may be making some people fearless.

Sick bees take care of themselves by eating better quality food

Sadly the study makes no mention of chicken soup.

Scientists discover how Giardia causes one of the world’s most common gastric diseases

Giardia uses proteins that are like Trojan Horses for the gut, tricking cells to open up.

2015 Nobel prize for Physiology or Medicine Awarded

This year’s Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine is split into three parts, being divided between William C. Campbell and Satoshi Ōmura — who jointly share a half “for their discoveries concerning a novel therapy against infections caused by roundworm parasites” — and Youyou Tu “for her discoveries concerning a novel therapy against Malaria.”

Parasitic wasps turn spiders into zombies… again!

Wasps are a nasty bunch; you don’t want to mess with them no matter who you are. Not only can they sting you really bad and ruin your day, they can actually control your mind, force you weave a web for their offspring and then kill you – well, if you’re a spider at least.

Fighting intestinal worm infections with its own genes

Parasitic hookworms infect half a billion people worldwide, causing severe health problems like gastrointestinal issues, cognitive impairment and stunted growth in children. As if the challenges weren’t big enough, the parasites are growing resistant to current drugs. Scientists are trying to tackle this by developing new treatments and vaccines based on the worm’s genome. A team of Caltech sequenced the genome of a hookworm species known as Ancylostoma ceylanicum and found the genes that code key proteins involved in infecting hosts. They hope blocking these proteins from being made might save millions from great sorrow and suffering.

High-salt diet could protect against microbes, but you still shouldn’t eat too much

Many people today are consuming more salt than they actually need – while this may make foods more tasty, it also increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. But a new study found that dietary salt could actually have a dietary advantage, defending the body against invading microbes.

Tapeworms Can Cooperate or Fight to Control Host

If two tape worms infect the same host, they can either cooperate to thrive, or battle it out for complete control. A new study has found that the parasites actively sabotage each other in a competition to seize control of the host.   Tape worms are nasty creatures. They live in the digestive tracts of vertebrates as adults, and often in

New Hookwork Vaccine Passes Clinical Trials in Brazil

A permanent vaccine for hookworm has passed clinical trials. The hookworm is one of the most pervasive parasites, affecting over 600 million people worldwide. The virus is also known for affecting mostly poor populations. The hookworm is a parasitic nematode (roundworm) that lives in the small intestine of its host, which may be a mammal such as a dog, cat,

A Rogue gone Good: Mitochondria was initially an Energy Parasite

A new milestone study found that mitochondria – the energy factories in animal and plant cells – were initially very similar to parasitic bacteria some two billion years ago, and only later did they become energy sources. Very little is known about the origins of mitochondria, but by probing the genomes of bacteria closely related to the energy cell scientists at University

Vampire parasitic plants ‘sweet talk’ victims via DNA communication

A parasitic plant called the dodder, which essentially acts like a ‘vampire’ upon its unsuspecting prey. A new research found the dodder actually communicates using DNA with its host in order to lower its defenses. A true vampire to the end – it needs an invitation to step in.

Mutated cat poop parasite treats cancer

Right now, I’m the happy caregiver of seven cats (five kittens. Yey!) which in most people’s books makes me socially challenged and insane. I do take special notice of my pets, and this means looking after them so they don’t get infected by parasites. Cats are typically clean animals, but when infested can spell trouble for family health – ZME

Parasitic vines may serve as lightning rods

The tropical rainforests of Central and South America aren’t threatened only by deforestation – they are also overrun by lianas, parasitic woody vines that clamber up trees and smother the forest canopy as they reach for sunlight. But the vines may actually help the trees in a way – scientists suspect they may in fact act as lightning rods. Understanding how this

Parasite turns plants into fruitless zombies

Many parasites affect their hosts’ behavior, up to the point where the host can sacrifice itself for the wellbeing of the parasite; it’s an extremely cruel fate for the host, but a really good evolutionary adaptation for the parasite. Good examples are horsehair worms that reach water by forcing their cricket hosts to drown themselves, and liver flukes that drive

Link between cat bites and depression found

Researchers at  University of Michigan, Ann Arbor have recently reached some arguable findings, after an analysis of statistical data showed that there’s an uncanny link between the people who show up at the hospital for cat bites related wounds and depression. Also, most people who had been both diagnosed with depression at some point in their lives and bitten by cats

Hyper-parasite defends ant colonies from zombie-ant fungus

Last year, we reported on one of the most gruesome and horrific acts that goes on in nature; it seems so unreal, like if some sort of SciFi monstrous scenario transcended into the realm of reality, that one has a hard time wrapping his head around it. Yes, as some of you might have read previously, I’m talking about the zombie-ant fungus

Malaria to be defeated by starving parasite to death

It claims the life of a child every 30 seconds and about 40% of the entire world population is at risk because of it. About 500 million people become very ill with malaria every year and about 2 million of them don’t make it. The situation seems really grim especially as in some parts of the world medicines seem to