Remember that iconic scene from Ridley Scott’s Alien when the creature rips out of John Hurt’s chest?
This cricket experienced something eerily similar, except unlike Hurt, the cricket was already dead.
A hiker filmed the incident after stepping on the cricket, causing the parasites to ooze out of the cricket.
We don’t know exactly what type of parasites these are; however, they could be horsehair worms. Hairworms infect crickets and other land-loving insects. They force the insects to drown themselves in water.
Before turning their hosts into complete zombies, the hairworms spend months growing inside the cricket’s digestive system. They can grow up to a foot long on average. (That’s a foot too long for our comfort.)
Hairworms emit chemicals that cause the cricket to move toward light. Water reflects light really well, and the insect hosts find themselves moving toward bodies of water for their aquatic parasites.
When the worms break free into the water, they immediately begin mating and the process starts anew with a fresh host.
Technically, according to researchers, the hairworms are classified as parasitoids and not parasites. Parasitoids kill their hosts, while parasites try to keep the host alive as long as possible. However, the two terms can be used interchangeably.
Luckily, we hope these parasites didn’t make it to water. But now we must live with the knowledge that these things exist.
Crickets aren’t the only critters dealing with parasites crawling out of orifices. This poor fish not only washed up on shore; it had to deal with an unexpected guest:
The insect kingdom definitely includes more terrifying creatures than horsehair worms. If your stomach feels up to it, check out the video below from Top Tenz:
Even if it’s not a hairworm parasite, the video is still a whole lot of NOPE.
Via Science Alert