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Posts tagged “insects

Halloween Chaos Countdown: Vampires in Nature

14 days until Halloween!

When people think of vampire animals the first thing that typically comes to mind are vampire bats. The vampire/bat link in vampire folklore could have originated from observations of vampire bats feeding on livestock and people. It isn’t clear if Bram Stoker got this idea from observing vampire bats before writing Dracula but it’s possible.

vampire bat

But vampire bats aren’t the only haematophagous animals. Here are 9 bloodsuckers found in nature that you may not have heard of:

I) The vampire finch, or Geospiza difficilis septentrionalis, feeds on the blood of other birds. They live in the Galapagos Islands and are endangered.

vampire finch

II) Vampire moths have been discovered throughout the world, prominently in Europe, Asia, and Africa. They feed mostly on animals but have been known to fill up on human blood as well. There is even a species of vampire butterfly which feeds of the blood of the dead!

Vampire-Moth

III) The vampire squid (Vampyroteuthis infernalis, lit. “vampire squid of Hell”) are deep-sea cephalopods which haven’t changed much since the 300 MILLION years that they’ve been around! When they feel threatened, they turn inside out into a “pumpkin posture.” Scientists are still trying to figure out their feeding behavior and how their filaments work since they do not grasp at prey like other cephalopods.

vampire squid

IV) Oxpeckers are a species of parasitic bird which feeds not only on the blood or large mammals, but also ticks, earwax, and dandruff.

oxpeckers

V) Kissing bugs are dangerous bloodsuckers that like to bite people on the lips but bite other parts as well. Their bite can spread Chagas disease to humans and is life-threatening.

kissing bug

VI) Vandellia cirrhosa, also known as vampire fish, are a parasitic Amazonian catfish which has been alleged to climb up human urethra by climbing up with the bony spikes on its head where it then attaches itself to feed on blood. Fun!

candiru-xr1

VII) Evarcha culicivora, or vampire spiders, reside in Kenya and ironically feed on the most common bloodsucker, the mosquito.

jumping-spider-mosquito

VIII) Leeches have been used for medicine and getting attacked by them fucking sucks, especially since there is never just one leech, there are hundreds of them. The ones here in Thailand actually leap out at you. Imagine walking through the woods during monsoon season, checking out some nature, and suddenly every few steps, little black slimy things leap out at you and stick to your feet and legs sucking your yummy blood. I had no idea they could leap! That shit was scary and of course reminded me of this:

IX) Lamprey eels are the most fucking creepy blood-sucking animals out there! With that cluster of little razor-sharp teeth they use to latch onto passing animals in the water to suck their blood, it’s hard not to look at pics of them and not get the creeps. They rarely attack humans though and there is a tribe which still hunts and eats them. It’s an acquired taste…

lampreys

For more spooky shit found in nature, check out my “Zombies in Nature” post.


Halloween Chaos Countdown: Japanese Hornet Apocalypse

giant japnese hornet

Giant Japanese hornets may cause the apocalypse. 30 hornets can massacre 30,000 bees! And as you may know, we need bees in order to stay alive since they help pollinate 1/3 of the crops that we eat.

hornet killing honey bee

Due to global warming, the hornets are going on a bee killing spree and are now attacking humans. They have killed 41 people in China and injured 1,600 in the last few weeks!

As you can see from the video, the wounds from a Japanese hornet attack are brutal. Once they decide to attack, it gets worse if you try to escape:

“Here’s a chilling scene that Chen Changlin, an Ankang farmer, witnessed one evening a few days ago. As he harvested rice on evening, hornets swarmed a woman and child working nearby. When they reached Chen, they stung him for three minutes straight. Chen made it; the other two died. “The more you run, the more they want to chase you,” said another victim, whose kidneys were ravaged by the venom. When he was admitted to the hospital, his urine was the color of soy sauce.”

via Quartz

The Japanese hornet stinger has the power to dissolve human tissue and chew their prey into a fine paste. Their sting is said to feel like a hot nail going through you.

hornet attack

The honeybees have found a way to fight back. Due to their massive, 2 inch long, 3 inch wingspan size, the Japanese hornet overheats easily and can die if their temperature rises above 115 degrees whereas the honeybees can tolerate up to 118 degrees. So the honeybees swarm the hornet, vibrate to raise their temperature, and roast the hornet alive:

Hornets only attack humans when they feel that their hive is being threatened, but as temperatures rise around the world, Japanese hornets are breeding more successfully than ever before and more bee massacres and attacks on humans will continue.

BTW, the Japanese hornet has already been spotted in the U.S and have a Facebook page to help you keep track of the Japanese hornet apocalypse.

suzumebachi-asian-giant-hornet-03


Twisted Tuesdays: Zombies in Nature

by Tracy Vanity

Zombie insects are nothing new but scientists keep discovering new organisms that burrow into some species’ brain, makes them do crazy shit, and kills them off in some Kafkaesque/Day of the Dead/Aliens way that makes you go “wow nature is a real sadistic cunt!”

Example –

Cordyceps fuck up some ants:

Sir David Attenborough is the shit. He should be the only one allowed to narrate everything in life. EVERYTHING! I love that man. I’ve seen that video dozens of times and still shiver in disgusted amazement. Imagine being an ant, chilling, looking for food for your colony, and then your friends frantically tell you to get away from them, and then some fucking fungus breaks through your entire body and kills you? That would be pretty fucked up wouldn’t it?

Cordyceps don’t just zombie invade ants though, here is what they do to unsuspecting tarantulas:

I just read this article about a European gypsy moth caterpillar virus that makes a caterpillar climb to the tallest part of a tree where “their diseased bodies split open, raining infected caterpillar guts onto the leaves and branches below.”

By doing this, the caterpillar guts have a higher chance of raining down on other caterpillars and infecting them and then they go and climb and explode their guts onto their pals until the whole tree becomes a zombie caterpillar apocalypse. This National Geographic article has more details on that particular strain of zombie insect infection.

I tried to find video of that but could only find pics of the aftermath:

It’s not just killer fungi that insects need to watch out for, here are some jewel wasps turning roaches into their zombie bitches:

They can also do it to spiders:

Still not creeped out enough? Live Science has a gallery of zombified ant species, Scientific American has a whole slide show of zombie animals, and here is an article on zomBEES.

Enjoy, sleep tight! Be glad you aren’t an arthropod. Humans have nothing to worry about…right?