Plants and Animals

Body Invaders: Caterpillar Edition

Photo credit: National Geographic/YouTube

Last week, we introduced you to the tarantula hawk: a wasp that uses a spider surrogate to incubate its offspring. Given the widespread arachnophobia that everyone seems to have, not everyone felt too particularly bad for the tarantula’s demise.

But what about when the victim of a parasite is a cute and cuddly caterpillar? Everyone loves a caterpillar, right?

Check out what happens when it also becomes an involuntary surrogate:

The Brain

Active Neurons Protect Mice Against Depression

Photo credit: Einar Faanes. Counter-intuitive treatment helps mice combat depression
A technique that might be expected to increase depression actually lessens it in mice a team at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, have announced in Science, explaining why a clinically used drug works and opening up new paths to treating  humans with the same condition.

Plants and Animals

Cuckoos Use Mafia Tactics, And They Work

Photo credit: Nature. The may look pretty, but brown-headed cowbirds are the bullies of the bird world
Cuckoos famously lay their eggs in other birds' nests and leave them to do the hard work of bringing up the offspring. Why then don't the other birds catch on and push the cuckoo eggs out? It seems some cuckoo species are the mafioso of the bird world, and make their hosts an offer they can't refuse.

Health and Medicine

NSFL: Doctors Remove 19 Centimeter Long Eye Worm

Photo credit: YouTube

Warning: This video is about as bad as it sounds. Watch with caution if you’re squeamish or if you ever plan on eating again.

Loiasis is a condition caused by nematode worms. It is transferred through a deerfly vector and is most likely to occur during the rainy season in the rain forests of West and Central Africa. When the larvae of these roundworms are introduced to the bloodstream, they take a few months to develop into adulthood and can migrate into the eye.

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