Samstag, 3. August 2013

The green-banded broodsac

There are a lot of creepy and nasty things out in our world. Take parasites for example. One of them is Leucochloridium paradoxum aka the green-banded broodsac.
At a rainy summer day I spotted amber snails in a bush. Oh beautiful, I usually don’t see them that often! But what was that green, pulsing thing in one of the tentacles?! Eeeeew...

The life of Leucochloridium paradoxum starts as tiny eggs in bird poo. Maybe an amber snail comes along, finds that yummy poo and eats it with the eggs. Inside the snail the parasite starts to hatch and infects the main digestive gland. There they digivolve… I mean turn into cercaries (a special form of larvae) and produce sporocytes which are simply long tubes composed of hundreds of these cercaries. These sporocytes will extend into the snails tentacles and will begin to pulsate.
Now the tentacles of the snail looks like a worm, tempting birds to eat them. Once the parasite is in the bird, it moves to the digestive track and changes from cercaries to adults and start to lay eggs. Now their journey ends and the circle starts anew.

Man, I’m happy that I’m on the top of the food chain and that we humans have a good health care. Phew.

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