Despite what many believe, zombies do not exclusively exist in the realm of science fiction, and our planet is currently home to a number of them.
Here are 10 'zombie' animals:
Number 10. Pill bugs. The unwitting little crustaceans are used by parasites as a means of upgrading their living environments. The opportunistic worms want to reside inside the digestive tract of a starling, so they take control of the bugs' brains and lead them straight into the paths of hungry flying birds.
Number 9. Cockroaches. Conjuring up sympathy for the pests can be tough, but what wasps do to some of them is truly grizzly. Venom injected into the roach paralyzes it. The conscious yet immobile creature is then dragged to the wasp's lair, filled with eggs, and forced to carry them to maturity. Once the larvae hatch, the live cockroach serves as a food source for them.
Number 8. South American Fire Ants. The parasitic larvae that occupy these creatures, and eventually eat their brains, do so without giving any indication that their hosts have lost control. The affected ants keep working until their masters' late developmental stages. They are then forced to find a comfortable place to nestle and wait until the pupa become flies and emerge.
Number 7. Mud Crabs. The evil villain in this story is a barnacle. Once the female invader successfully gains entry into a crab, she carves out a nice living space and then invites males of her kind over for a wild mating party. During this process, crabs lose their own reproductive abilities, as well as their will to be anything other than a home to barnacles.
Number 6. Spiders. Instead of building their future babies a home, wasps manipulate spiders into doing it. The wasp lays an egg on one. Once able, the larva takes over the spider's mind, commanding that a secure web be built so it can continue to grow in peace.
Number 5. Wood frogs. The North American dwellers have perfected the art of freezing themselves to the brink of death. Eventually they thaw out and continue living. They don't get just a little frosty, either. A fully chilled one is solid enough to make a clinking noise when dropped.
Number 4. Killifish. After being born in a bird, passed to a snail, and maturing a bit, parasites move along to this swimmer to carry on with the process of growing up. When they're ready, they compel the fish into dangerous open waters where they're easily caught and eaten by birds, and the cycle begins again.
Number 3. Crickets. The hopping insects are prone to getting STDs of the worst kind imaginable. Once infected with the virus, their desire to copulate increases, resulting in the quick spread of the condition throughout the cricket community. Further, the contagion renders both genders sterile, leaving the crickets to continue mating until they die out.
Number 2. Honeybees. As if bees aren't facing enough modern survival problems, they're also under the constant threat of being consumed from the inside out by grubs. The grubs' fly parents implant them in worker bees as eggs. Once hatched, the young feed on the host, possibly pushing the bee to flee the hive and die.
Number 1. Caterpillars. Once again, wasps' hands-off approach to childrearing results in devastating consequences for others. Baby caterpillars are pumped full of wasp eggs, and both parasite and host grow bigger together. After the intruders vacate, the caterpillar is left with an odd sense of loyalty to them, providing both protection and defense.
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