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10 Fascinating Cases of Mind Control

Controlling the minds of other living creatures is simply the stuff of science fiction right? Well for some creatures becoming a real live zombie is a daily hazard. Here are 10 examples of real parasitic behavior modifications. These are in no particular order.


Phorid flies


The genus Pseudacteon, of which 110 species have been documented, is a parasitoid of the ant in South America. Members of Pseudacteon reproduce by laying eggs in the thorax of the ant. The first instar larvae migrate to the head. The larvae develop by feeding on the hemolymph, muscle tissue, and nervous tissue in the head. Eventually, the larvae completely devour the ant’s brain, causing it to do nothing but wander aimlessly for approximately two weeks. After about two to four weeks, they cause the ant’s head to fall off by releasing an enzyme that dissolves the membrane attaching the ant’s head to its body. The fly pupates in the detached head capsule.


Toxoplasma Gondii


Toxoplasma gondii is a common parasite the definitive host of which is the cat, but the parasite can be carried by all known mammals including humans. T. gondii infections have the ability to change the behavior of rats and mice, making them drawn to rather than fearful of the scent of cats. This effect is advantageous to the parasite, which will be able to sexually reproduce if its host is eaten by a cat. The infection is almost surgical in its precision, as it does not affect a rat’s other fears such as the fear of open spaces or of unfamiliar smelling food.


Euhaplorchis Californiensis


This parasite lives in the gut of shorebirds and produces eggs that are released in the bird’s stool which are spread into the salt-water marshes and ponds of southern California. Some of these eggs get swallowed up by snails and hatch into larva. Once these larvae are mature enough they leave the snail and swim out into the marshes eventually finding a killifish, entering through the gills and making its way along a nerve and into the brain cavity. Once in the brain cavity the parasite will cause the fish to come to the surface, swim in circles, jerk around and display its silvery underside in an attempt to attract a bird’s attention. This behavior makes the infected fish 30 times more likely to be caught and consumed by a bird. Once the fish is consumed, the parasite lives in the bird’s gut and the process can begin anew.


Jewel Wasp
Ampulex Compressa


When a female jewel wasp is ready to lay its egg it finds a cockroach and administers two stings. The first sting is to the roach’s thorax temporarily paralyzing its front legs. The second sting is directly to the roach’s brain. This sting causes the roach to lose its escape reflex. Without its escape reflex the wasp, who is much too small to carry the cockroach, can grab one of the cockroach’s antennae and lead it around like a dog on a leash. The wasp takes her new pet back to her nest, lays an egg on its belly and seals it inside. Eventually the larva will hatch and consume the still living roach, which happily lies there until it dies.


Spinochordodes Tellinii


This worm’s larva develops and grows inside orthopteran insects (grasshoppers, crickets, etc.). As it grows the worm will consume the internal organs of its host until there is nothing left but the head, legs and outer shell. Once the parasite is grown (usually 3-4 times larger than its host), it manipulates its host to actually seek out and dive into a large body of water. Once in the water the worm emerges and swims away to live out the rest of its life, leaving the host to drown.


Costa Rican Parasitoid Wasp
Hymenoepimecis Argyraphaga

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Hymenoepimecis argyraphaga is a Costa Rican parasitoid wasp whose host is the spider Plesiometa argyra. The adult female wasp temporarily paralyzes the spider and lays an egg on its abdomen. The egg hatches into a larva which sucks the spider’s blood through small holes, while the spider goes on about its normal web building and insect catching behavior for the next one to two weeks. When the larva is ready to pupate, it injects a chemical into the spider, causing it to build a web whose design is completely different from any it has ever made, and then to sit motionless in the middle of this web. Even if the larva is removed prior to the web-building process, the spider still engages in aberrant web-spinning. The wasp larva then molts, kills the spider with a poison and sucks its body dry before discarding it and building a cocoon that hangs from the middle of the web the spider has just built. The larva pupates inside the cocoon, and then emerges to mate and begin the cycle over again.


Cordyceps Unilateralis


C. unilateralis is a species of entomopathogenic fungus that infects and alters the behavior of ants in order to ensure the widespread distribution of its spores. The spores enter the body of the insect through its spiracles, where they begin to consume the non-vital soft tissues. When the fungus is ready to spore, its mycelia enter the ant’s brain and change how it perceives pheromones, causing the insect to climb to the top of a plant and use its mandibles to secure itself to the stem. The fungus then kills the ant, and the fruiting bodies of C. unilateralis grow from its head and explode, releasing the spores.




Glyptapanteles is a genus of parasitoid wasps found in Central and North America. A female Glyptapanteles will lay her eggs (about 80 at a time) inside a young caterpillar host. After hatching the larvae will feed on the caterpillar’s succulent juicy insides until they are fully developed. They then emerge from the body, attach themselves to a branch or leaf, and form a cocoon. However, one or two larvae remain behind and manipulate the caterpillar to take up position near the cocoons, arch its back, and cease to move or feed. However, when the cocoons are disturbed, the caterpillar will thrash around violently. The pupae effectively have themselves a zombie-caterpillar bodyguard. The caterpillar remains this way until the cocoons hatch at which point it dies.


Lancet Liver Fluke
Dicrocoelium Dendriticum


D. dendriticum spends its adult life inside the liver of its host. After mating, the eggs are excreted in the feces. The first intermediate host, the terrestrial snail, eats the feces, and becomes infected by the larval parasites. The larvae (or cercariae) drill through the wall of the gut and settle in its digestive tract, where they develop into a juvenile stage. The snail tries to defend itself by walling the parasites off in cysts, which it then excretes and leaves behind in the grass. The second intermediate host, an ant, uses the trail of slime as a source of moisture. The ant then swallows a cyst loaded with hundreds of juvenile lancet flukes. The parasites enter the gut and then drift through its body. Most of the cercariae encyst in the haemocoel of the ant and mature into metacercariae, but one moves to the sub-esophageal ganglion (a cluster of nerve cells underneath the esophagus). There, the fluke takes control of the ant’s actions by manipulating these nerves. As evening approaches and the air cools, the infested ant is drawn away from other members of the colony and upward to the top of a blade of grass. Once there, it clamps its mandibles onto the top of the blade and stays there until dawn. Afterward, it goes back to its normal activity at the ant colony. If the host ant were to be subjected to the heat of the direct sun, it would die along with the parasite. Night after night, the ant goes back to the top of a blade of grass until a grazing animal comes along and eats the blade, ingesting the ant along with it, thus putting lancet flukes back inside their preferred host.




Sacculina is a genus of barnacles that parasitize crabs. Upon finding a host crab, the female Sacculina larva walks on it until it finds a joint. It then molts, injecting its soft body into the crab while its shell falls off. The Sacculina grows in the crab, emerging as a sac on the underside of the crab’s rear thorax, where the crab’s eggs would be incubated. When a female Sacculina is implanted in a male crab it will interfere with the crab’s hormonal balance. This sterilizes it and changes the bodily layout of the crab to resemble that of a female crab by widening and flattening its abdomen, among other things. The female Sacculina has even been known to cause the male crabs to perform mating gestures typical of female crabs. The male Sacculina looks for a female Sacculina adult on the underside of a crab. He then enters and fertilizes her eggs. The crab (male or female) then cares for the eggs as if they were its own, having been rendered infertile by the parasite. The natural hatching process of a crab consists of the female finding a high rock and grooming its brood pouch on its abdomen and releasing the fertilized eggs in the water through a bobbing motion. The female crab stirs the water with her claw to aid the flow of the water. When the hatching parasite eggs of the Sacculina are ready to emerge from the brood pouch of Sacculina, the crab performs a similar process. The crab shoots them out through pulses creating a large cloud of parasites. The crab then uses the familiar technique of stirring the water to aid in flow.


Leucochloridium Paradoxum


Leucochloridium Paradoxum is a parasitic flatworm that uses gastropods (snails and slugs) as an intermediate host. The worm in its larval stage, travels into the digestive system of a snail to develop into the next stage, sporocyst. The sporocyst grows into long tubes to form swollen “broodsacs” filled with tens to hundreds of larvae. These broodsacs invade the snail’s tentacle (preferring the middle, when available), causing a brilliant transformation, of the tentacles, into a swollen, pulsating, colorful display that mimics the appearance of a caterpillar or grub. The infection of the tentacles of the eyes seems to inhibit the perception of light intensity. Whereas uninfected snails seek dark areas to prevent predation, infected snails are more likely to become exposed to predators such as birds. The resulting behavior of the flatworm is a case of aggressive mimicry, where the parasite vaguely resembles the food of the host. This gains the parasite entry into the host’s body; this is unlike most other cases of aggressive mimicry, in which only a part of the host resembles the target’s prey and the mimic itself then eats the duped animal.

This article is licensed under the GFDL because it contains quotations from Wikipedia.

Listverse Staff

Listverse is a place for explorers. Together we seek out the most fascinating and rare gems of human knowledge. Three or more fact-packed lists daily.

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  • Lifeschool

    hey! What can I say! Obedient roaches on the list yo! Truely amazing!

    • Muskan

      Ja, for for e5 si det slik Vi skal pe5 butikken e5 kjf8pe jeutlrlys i morgen tidlig For vi fe5r ikke de pokkers lysa til e5 funke! Arg Se5 vi pynter ikke juletreet i kveld det blir det skikkelik stress juleaften i e5r Planen er som ff8lger: ste5 opp, dusje mens frokosten lager seg selv, spise, stikke pe5 butikken og kjf8pe juletrelys, hjem og pynte treet, pakke alt i bilen(heldigvis har jeg pakket alt vi skal ha med oss) kjf8re hjem til mamma, le5se oss inn og hilse pe5 bikkjene, sette pe5 julematen, stryke kle6rne som er pent tredd ned i kofferten og sette alle pakkene under treet se5 kan jula komme .Neida Dogglas tar seg aldri vann over hodet ..

  • dinesh

    the mushrooms growing out of things after they have eaten it is awesome! that really is like something from science fiction x

    • Oktaviara

      Esta es una gran noticia; los dos promeris me encantaron, por lo que si este les sale la mitad de bien que los anteriores lo pillo seguro.Una pequef1a rectificacif3n: fue el primer Parasite Eve e9l que no llegf3 a Europa; fue el segundo el que disfrutamos (y a mi juicio es el mejor de los dos).

  • DAnte

    The. Best. List. Ever.

    • Magnumto

      I started reading archived lists late last year, starting at the very first Listverse list and working my way back to this point, plus staying current with those lists most recently posted. Therefore, I've read several hundred lists, plus a lot of lists, and I must say, I agree with you 100%: This IS The. Best. List. Ever, and it's appropriate it's on The. Best. List. Site. Ever. I've had a lot of zoology classes (geology major/zoology minor), and I have never heard of any of these. Absolutely incredible, and extremely well written. My mind is officially boggled. Thanks, Nauplius – I'll be watching for more of your lists!

  • Phil


  • Milos

    great list, but the video on #5 is the same video as in #3, it not about the spider.

  • Iain

    Ah! The miracle of life.

  • optimus_grime

    i think the ultimate example of mind control in nature the power that girls have over their boyfriends/husbands. many men claim to be immune ot the female’s mind infecting power but its impossible.

  • Matt1234

    Wow…truly bizarre and oddly fascinating.

  • stanleypoobrick

    filth list.

  • Spik5005

    Super cool and interesting list!

  • DaVega

    Very nice list! I’ve heard about the ringworm forcing it’s host to jump into water so it will drown, but i’ve never heard of any of these other mind-controlling bugs! They are both interesting and creepy, a ‘good’ idea for a new horror-movie maybe..?

  • moltom

    The video number 5 is the same as number 3…

    Great list though.

  • FJ

    Soooooo horrifyingly scary yet I could not stop reading. Great list!

  • calm_incense

    Good God.

    These are gruesome as fuck.

    I love it!

  • @moltom (12): You are right – my mistake. Thanks for pointing that out. I have now corrected it.

  • Arsenal

    Damn those wasps

  • InfearNO

    Jewel wasp’s rule. I thought all wasps could fly though? Very cool video none the less, it was like insect UFC.

  • nuriko


  • Safira

    Great,now I’m scared of bugs again!

  • Eire

    Why arent Children on this list? They live in there mothers belly for 9 months, then are born and are feed and looked after for another 18 years!!!

    Ha ha just kidding.

    Great list

  • missmoss25

    For someone who is deathly afraid of spiders this list will NEVER be read all the way through by me. I couldn’t scroll down fast enough! Mind control is scary enough but why does it have to be used by so many creepy crawlies? Eww eww eww!!!
    Listverse, thanks for all the awesomeness!

  • NickNamed

    Oh man, screw nature. Kill if with fire!

  • NickNamed

    Dammit, kill ‘it’ not kill ‘if’ – I look dumb now

  • Du

    darn… and i was hoping to use some of these techniques to manipulate my brother…


    Hmm, kinda like Obama has infested and now controls the minds of the US and the media.

  • Sam

    I think some of these I learned from the book Peeps by Scott Westerfeld. A vampire book of the parasite variety, so the descriptions of many of these were in there. Good to get more info on them.

  • rushfan

    Wow, fascinating list. I’m actually kinda glad I can’t see any of the videos here at work, the descriptions are enough for now. :) Never thought I’d feel sorry for cockroaches.

  • Jono

    Holy crap. I’m actually feeling a bit sick after seeing the Bonus one.

    I wonder what it feels like to be the victim?
    Are they actually getting brainwashed? Do they feel some uncontrollable urge to do something all of a sudden? I find it hard to comprehend that a chemical injected into a victim can introduce a new, complex behaviour pattern. Was the pattern already there?
    Or is it more like they hallucinate and are just highly suggestible (as is the case with humans).
    So many questions.

  • Skrillah

    Ok. Hats off! Bow down before the Greatest Listverse Masterpiece!!

  • Jono

    Also, you forgot to mention that:

    •Approximately 10%-50% of humans are infected with the Toxoplasma Gondii parasite.

    •In extensive studies it has been shown that those with the parasite act differently to those without the parasite.

  • bengalboy

    cool list; thought i might see tom cruise sucking the life and mind out of katie holmes for an extra bonus-these parasites(et al) have nothing on that guy.

  • Amy

    That Jewel wasp video amazed me & sickened me. Ew

  • Bel

    Bleugh I hate parasites, they’re the only things in the animal kingdom that make my stomach queasy lol. Great list!!!

  • Ms Scarlett

    Best. List. Ever. !!!

    This site has been my favourite way to waste time at work for ages now but this is the first list that’s made me want to write a comment. Totally and utterly brilliant, nice one!

  • Princess

    I agree – BEST LIST EVER!

    Totally creepy and fascinating

  • stevenh

    Brilliant research, excellent writing (from head capsules to zombie-caterpillar bodyguards) and a wonderful education.

    Thank you.

  • Jacynta

    Interesting list, though I only scanned the last two cause it made me so uncomfortable.
    Still good list!

  • JCF

    If you liked this list, you’ll love the book Parasite Rex by Carl Zimmer. This list is just the tip of the iceberg – the book gives a glimpse at the rest. (I’m not the author – just a fan of this book).

  • aikon2963

    Some creepy shit

  • oouchan

    Forgot to put a warning sign up for those who have arachnophobia! I about had a heart attack when I got to number 5. *shudder*
    Cool list by the way, Nauplius. I think the Jewel Wasp is the best as that is an interesting way to get rid of a roach. :)

    @Eire (18): haha! That was funny!

  • Chineapplepunk

    Brrr, I’ve got chills and yes, they are multiplying!!!

  • Clouds

    It’s amazing what nature is capable of. One of the best lists, terrifying, remorseless bug bastards! Love it!

  • rushfan

    @Jono (28): Wow. That’s very interesting.

  • ames801

    I never knew I was fascinated by this stuff until I read it. Cool list. Although, I feel like bugs are crawling on me right now…I’m a bit arachnophobic.

  • GameSpot user

    I was relieved to see the ant controlling one in there one of the wierdest.

  • galaxygirl

    Fantastic list!

    @Eire(18): Agree! And everyone knows the host aka the mother is never the same again. hee hee

  • ashleigh.j

    what a great list. didn’t think it would be. But all of the vids were a great aid as well.

    Some of this stuff made me itchy, but i didn’t skip any wat all.

  • mom424

    Way awesome list Nauplius. Tres-creepy and fascinating. When I was a young teenager we lived in Belleville, Ontario. Home of the sludgy, weedy, icky Moira River. Of course we never cared that it was sludgy and weedy and smelly; there was a great broken down damn for diving and shale shelves for sliding. Until of course I developed these raised, itchy pathways on my legs – from the parasite chewing itself a new home in my body. I don’t know the scientific name for it; we called it swimmers itch. Ducks were the primary host, releasing larvae into the water through their feces. The itching is unbelievable but cool water would soothe it. Of course mammals and humans, prior to anti-parasitic medication, would bathe for relief keeping the cycle going.

  • SallySweet

    I expected something totally different. While gross, this is a pretty informative list.

  • Nobkin

    Awesome list! Love parasites, they’re absolutely amazing organisms.

    Heard a great podcast episode on toxoplasma, and how it can change behaviors and attitudes in humans.

    Also, watch the show Monsters Inside Me on Animal Planet, very interesting show about parasites with great CG

  • dsig

    I agree with DAnte (comment #1) best list i have read on this site (trust me I have read almost all of the lists!).
    Fascinating, disgusting and something I couldn’t turn away from… dispite the lists disguting reminder to me that my student home has snails, I was not bothered before but after reading this I am off to the shops to have a butchers at some snail/insect killing powders and germ cleaners.

  • LemonParty

    this is a beautiful list, mind control is extremely interesting when it applies to real life

  • archangel

    it’s such a good thing these biological abilities haven’t evolved in larger sized animals such as mammals, reptiles, birds, etc.

    Can you imagine humans having to deal with large size parasites!?

  • Bryan

    This was a great read! My favorite is #9 because the effect is so subtle.

  • Chavon

    eewww….gross!! im n class jumpin at every little gust of wind that blows… i think its a bug! hehe : )

  • dannan1989

    My favourite list so far!

  • Nauplius

    I am so glad that everyone seems to enjoy the list. Thank you Jamie for publishing it and thanks for adding the bonus item :) This was my first attempt at a list so I’m glad that people seem to like it even if it grosses them out a little :P

  • mitchsn

    Wow and you thought humans were cruel!

  • Norman

    Nearly threw up whilst reading this. Disgusting, but strangely fascinating.

  • Maximuz04

    This is a truly amazing list…. I was expecting something cheesy like human hypnosis and stuff like that.
    PLEASE ENCORE!!!!!!!!!!! can we have “another 10 fascinating cases of mind control” tomorrow?

  • Sally

    What a great list! Parasites are terrifying!

  • Kay

    One of my favorite lists. Bravo. I read about some of these in peeps too. I need to go back to the libeary. I didn’t get to finish it.

  • Obiwan32

    This list sucks, I wish I could have the few minutes of my life back that I spent reading it

  • Kay

    37 I think I’ll check out that book too.


    Excellent list, as usual!!!

    I remember the 1st time I saw some of this. Number 7 & Bonus. Keep me thinking about a month!

  • undaunted warrior

    Great list – its amazing how you feel itchy after reading a list like this.

  • gabi319

    Interesting topic, Nauplius! I thoroughly enjoyed your writing style. Plus, I adore anything that mentions jewel wasps! I almost shut down a science fair because some judge thought I brought real jewel wasps there! crazy lady didn’t know the difference between real jewel wasps and the inanimate crushed beads I placed in vials (to create IMO a poor likeness) as a display. Nor did she read the sign I made saying “These are not real jewel wasps.” Nor did she consider the paperwork I signed agreeing not to bring live specimens to judging. sheesh….

    Fascinating case of mind control…how about Futurama’s brain suckers. Anyone? Anyone?

  • lolololol

    Ummm no Hypnotoad?

  • oouchan

    @gabi319 (67): I actually thought of that as soon as I read the title of this list. :)

    @archangel (53): See comment number 18….it’s called pregnancy. :D

  • Skrillah

    I think the site admin should take…( Just noticed theres a ‘exactly a pixel sized’ living being moving across my screen,1st time I’ve seen something like this, hope that a parasite didn’t materialize from the list…what a coincidence!)..necessary steps in order to publicize this list through out the web,A masterpiece like this, has to be shared with everyone.

    This is THE List.

  • Skrillah

    btw,, archangel, do u by any chance happen to have an Americas Army account by that name?

  • Trapper439

    Intelligent Design, my arse.

    What kind of supposedly benevolent and omnipotent being would ‘design’ this type of sadism?

    If these creatures came about due to the actions of this alleged ‘God’ character then he’s a 100% A-grade asshole who needs to take a good hard ****ing look at himself and his motivations.

    What a sadistic bastard.

  • Bobby

    Uh, how about how a pimp controls a ho’s mind?

  • gabi319

    @lolololol (68):
    I considered hypnotoad too but ultimately decided it wasn’t applicable here because it isn’t a truly parasitic organism. In order to fit within the parameters set by Nauplius, the organism needs to take control of the host to ensure its survival as a species. The only time hypnotoad used his/her/its powers to bend others to his/her/its will was to win a sheep herding competition. Not very parasitic. In fact, I believe it may even have a symbiotic relationship with others. He needs someone to hypnotize and we need to be hypnotized by a television show of a toad. What can be more beneficiary than that?

  • frushka

    My father used techniques like these to control my mind.
    So did my ex-husband.
    But I am strong. I got away.

    Kudos on this wicked-ass dank MoFo list.

  • Skrillah

    Frushka.. i need a hit of that pot ya having…can i?

  • mailedbypostman

    Good list. Picture for #9 was too cute to make me scared tho.

  • Blogball

    So maybe it was actually a parasite that found its way to Charlotte’s brain causing her to write “Some Pig” in her web and she wasn’t really trying to save Wilbur after all.
    I know that was a long was to go for a silly joke but seriously just wanted to say I really enjoyed the list. Great job Nauplius.

  • Aubloom

    wonderful wonderful list. It’s amazing things have evolved to do these type of thigns.

  • redcaboose

    What a great list. These were fascinating, as have been the comments.
    The other day there was a list about animals going extinct, and I think that this list shows the inter-dependence of animals. Take one out of the loop, and you can lose others.
    And it goes right up the food chain.

  • whoopee

    re #9

    how does having its host being eaten allow the toxoplasmi doodah have reproductive sex?


  • pestomama

    Horrible and fascinating. Great list!!

  • gabi319

    @Blogball (78):
    Interesting argument, Blogball! Of course, that opens up a whole can of worms requiring a literary autopsy. Did Moby Dick truly want to bite off Ahab’s leg or was it a parasite controlling his mind that made him do it? Perhaps Oliver (of Oliver’s Twist) didn’t want more gruel but rather the parasitic tapeworm in his tummy was begging for more. Drawing the short stick was just a literary excuse.

    Excuse me for the poor jokes, everyone. A slow morning. I’m growing antsy.

  • whoopee

    and hang on, hang on.
    number six – the worm eats the cricket from the inside, completely and then, when it is three or four times bigger than the host yet still somehow completely contained within it, forces the host, which is still alive despite having been completely eaten except for shell, head and legs, to drown itself and then escapes the host’s body?

    How is the host still alive to drown itself?
    How can the worm be bigger than the host?

  • Maggot

    @gabi319 (83): I’m growing antsy.

    Apparently, they have assumed control.

  • Nauplius

    Whoopee @81 & 84:

    Toxoplasma can only sexually reproduce in felines hence the need for the intermediate host to be eaten.

    For the hairworm it should say 3-4 times LONGER, not larger. My mistake for not proofreading better.

  • whoopee


  • gabi319

    @Maggot (85):
    If it is, I hope it’s a jewel wasp! How great would it be to smack someone upside the head and blame it on a jewel wasp?! :-D

    Actually, the only one of the above I wouldn’t want is the hairworm. Of the 11 here, it’s nature’s laziest parasite IMO. All that hoopla of invading the host, eating its innards and waiting for adulthood just to get the cricket to jump into the middle of a lake so it can go for a swim? Build yourself a raft, you lazy hairworm.

  • Maggot

    @gabi319 (88): I hope it’s a jewel wasp! How great would it be to smack someone upside the head and blame it on a jewel wasp?!

    It would be great, as long as I’m not the smackee!

    Actually, I’m betting that you only like the jewel wasp because it has a purdy name. Typical female.

    (Misogynistic post due to parasitic mind-control. Not my fault)

  • Lifeschool

    Even more bugs than a ‘stevenh’ list! Wow. But not as many bugs as Norton Anti Virus – how ironic.

  • Stevie Lix

    I was disappointed, didn’t think this qualified as mind control, more like a permanent and destructive change to the host creature. Interesting though.

  • gabi319

    @whoopee (84): How is the host still alive to drown itself?

    It begins by eating everything “nonessential”. It isn’t until right before it takes dives in the water that there’s only the empty shell of it left… and the nervous system. The hairworm hijacks the nervous system and uses that to convince the insect to jump. The Nervous system is still function so it’s technically still alive but embodies the true essence of “Zombie”.

    Heading to work to try out my new Jewel Wasp theory! :-D

  • jacks

    aww, i kinda feel bad for the ants on #10!!
    they’re running for theire lives!! :(


  • jacks


  • syd

    mast hai d most kandi wildy wildy whacky list

  • mmmm yes

    Seems parasitic behaviour is quite common in the insect world. I’m sure there are examples involving mammals – hypnosis for example?

    I’ve heard about weeds that grow up a tree, then strangle it to death where it collapses in on itself, to leave a holo space where the tree used to be. Similar kinda thing I thought, only with trees not insects

  • Taze

    Horrifyingly awesome list. One of the worst dreams I’ve ever had was one where I was mind-controlled…yikes. These poor bugs go through living nightmares!

  • the witches of venus

    This is all very interesting stuff. It was good to read something as my major interest.

  • glossberry

    I just lost my lunch

  • Moonbeam

    Count me in as another one who loves this list – nice job.

    @Jono (28): Thanks for this information. I wonder where you got this bit: “10%-50% of humans are infected with the Toxoplasma Gondii parasite”? I didn’t find that in your linked article. Is that true? Yikes!

  • chubbmeister

    I can’t stop looking at the hairworm video for #6!! My god, that’s so freaky, look how long that thing is!

    (then again, I can get equally excited about ‘releasing’ an ingrown hair) :-)

  • Pedro

    the guinea worm is a parasite that can infect humans. it causes us blisters with a burning sensation so we will dunk it in the water and then the guinea worm releases thousands of larvae from the blister

  • archiealt

    Truly, truly terrifying list. Much like after i first saw Alien, i can’t see me sleeping for some weeks.

  • tripsyman

    Excellent list – really fascinating stuff. Many thanks for posting it :)

  • darthdodo

    I’m reading this before going to school, doubt my education will ever be the same. one of the best on listverse i must say!

  • Hans

    Absolutely awe-inspiring. To think that all this is instinctual. Amazing.

  • Valenwind

    I also read about several of these in Peeps- every other chapter in the book described different parasites, and in fact toxoplasma and cats became an important plot point. And for those wondering about why such sadistic creatures could exist…well…Peeps also puts out some interesting theories regarding Crohn’s disease, among other things. Look it up. The book is an amazing read and some of the positive aspects of parasites are fascinating.

  • I4gotmyMANTRA

    number 1 really is pretty damn cool.

  • Mabel

    Fascinating but also kinda yucky!

  • Iakhovas

    Maybe humans should be on this list. Some people I know are the biggest parasites of all! I guess we don’t use chemical manipulation, just good old fashioned emotional manipulation.

  • mmmm yes

    Seen as parasites occur so much in nature, why don’t we talk about it like we do alcohol and drug addictions?

    Many people are considered human parasites by the way they live their life, but maybe parasitic behaviour is essential in nature for survival. As someone said earlier – pimps, hookers and clients….which one is the real parasite?

    Clearly manipulation of others is fairly common in nature, so that by definition makes it natural and ok.

  • astraya

    I will now attempt mind control over Jamie – you-will-publish-the-list-I-sent-you, you-will-publish-the-list-I-sent-you, you-will-publish-the-list-I-sent-you, you-will –

    Not working. Maybe I have to be a parasite first. I don’t think Jamie will like that bit. I may not, either.

  • melodie

    wonderful list, it took me breathless!

  • acidice24

    Fantastic list! Very well researched plus the videos are awesome!

    This should be in the Top 10 List of Best Lists! =)

  • Gosh, I read it, thrilled it, and chilled it – so much affecting to our life. I think man are not the most dangerous species after all.

  • Ahuacatle

    Great list.

    I am thoroughly disgusted.

  • That was Crazy! Nature never ceases to amaze!

    Hayden Walker

  • heyyanthony

    Easily one of the best lists I’ve read so far. Posted a link to my blog and my facebook.

  • Jono

    @Stevie Lix (91)
    I think everyone has had enough of hearing about what a failure MKULTRA was.

    @Moonbeam (100)
    Those statistics I pulled from a article. The figure varies wildly depending on the hygiene standards and diet of the area. So a population who eats predominately raw food would obviously have a greater concentration of the parasite. I don’t know where I saw it, but I’m pretty sure I also read that it makes males more introverted and females more extroverted (statistical correlation).

  • nim chimpsky

    I have always enjoyed reading the daily lists but this is the first time I have ever written a comment, not because I didnt enjoy the others but because this list is absolutely amazing! Good work.

  • Tomo

    If I didn’t know better I’d say this shit is straight out of sci-fi.

    But wow, what a great list. Simply enthralling!

    The Jewel Wasp is da bomb! I feel sorry for all the cockroaches and ants and spiders that get owned by these viruses, literally!

  • Tomo

    Viruses? What viruses?? I meant parasites…

  • hoshie

    FASCINATING!! And absolutely disgusting.

  • foldingmirrorpoet

    Great list and fascinating topic.

  • muzli

    What about the AIDS virus. It attaches itself to its host and swim around its body for almost ten years while devouring the juicy insides until … eventually … the host dies. Sad !

  • beegirl5

    cool…butthe pics.r gross…!!! Try to get nicer ones please!…xxx

  • Nicosia

    Ewwww! I HATE BUGS!!!!

  • beegirl5

    ya me to I think that they should be less disturbing pics. of bugs!!! thanks Nicosia I agree. personally I don’t think that bugs have anything to do with mind control! …xxx

  • zuh.

    GAAAHHHH, i almost thought the snail thing was gonna be left out…but sure enough, there it was in all it’s horiffic glory as the ‘bonus’!

  • moshmonster

    That was the most metal thing I’ve ever read in my whole life…

  • psteelers

    How can they allow this testing. What’s PETA’s phone number?

  • jaderaven

    I read that book too! Its amazing. :)
    When I saw the name of the list i thought it was about animal testing with rats and manipulating nerves so i didnt want to read it. Got enough of that in pysch class.
    But I decided to look anyway. Glad I did.

    P.S. @J Frater
    First comment on listverse ^.^

  • zuh.

    @psteelers (131): PETA kills animals.

  • Cubone

    I’m . . . gonna . . . be . . . sick . . .

  • GTT

    @Trapper439 (72):
    @gabi319 (88):
    @Maggot (89):

    LOL! The comments on this list were fantastic! :lol:

    This was a great list by the way. Nature is just really, really weird (and grossly sadistic apparently). I was morbidly fascinated reading this list (though I am very glad that my work blocked the videos…) :)

  • Floklo

    This list just disturbed me… Good list nonetheless!

  • macph

    heck, the worst tyrants of the world are dimwits compared to the mind control techniques of these creatures.
    fact is indeed stranger than fiction.. cheers from the philippines.. =)

  • macph


    wtf i was thinking of the same thing! lol

  • WatAbout

    LMAO at 4:56 on the jewel wasp video. i laughed out loud for a good 5 seconds.

  • diogenes

    awesome list. The videos add a helluva lot to it.
    number ten fly isn’t of the same as the coffin fly , is it?

  • diogenes

    oh i see, Phoridae/ Phorid from Wiki where the info you quoted comes from, mentions the coffin fly in the text. thanks me/wiki/you!

  • diogenes

    I remember the “fungus stalk ant”, (number 4s Cordyceps Unilateralis) when I first discovered the museum of jurassic technology.

    this sort of thing is as fascinating as mimicry.

    …okay, I’ll try not and comment another time in the row. I think thats’s just that i press enter and reread or think something new and respond and press enter again.

  • dasakatari

    I have pet snails. Now I’m scared of them.

  • Debt Consolidation Arizona

    really? I don’t think so.

  • true vampyre

    LOL @ phorid fly video

    “like a zombie airforce rising from the dead…”

  • sacha

    …best list ever…

  • Brett

    GREAT list!!!

  • Satokasse

    yeh right.. great post, Thank You

  • em0703

    only thing I can say – wow… I was amazed how clever jewel wasps are. really, really good list.

  • unk_chick

    Awww. Does anyone else feel bad for the ants? It seems like they are a popular host/victim for most of these parasites.

  • wp themes

    Fabulously just posting this remark to show that I visit your blog daily.

  • Disciple

    @optimus_grime (5): LOL agreed!

  • Revisionistrae

    I think the plant that grows round a tree is the strangler fig (or strangler vine?) found in south American jungles.

    (I’m still feeling a bit ill. Even though I’ve known about ichneumon flies and cabbage white caterpillars – the caterpillars die before pupating, and have little yellow cocoons around them – since I was about 10).

  • dapdap

    that roach poops when it got pwned by that wasp… talk about shit in your pants huh? ^^

  • xeoz

    imagine if it host on humans

    no, i’m not going to imagine it

  • Nauplius

    I hit random list and look what comes up, my favorite list :)

  • facehairteeth

    isn’t creation amazing?!

  • vesey

    you left out the 97% of black Americans suffering from the very toxic VOTUSDEMOCRATUS syndrome that has caused so much pain for them……………………

  • Elysa

    I love parasites. I am an aspiring parasitologist… For now anyway. I'm not even a freshman in high school, but I already knew everything on this list. This summer, I'm studying three textbooks on parasites, human physiology and college biology. Woot.

  • dearness

    dear god #10….. it's just so fascinating though… dunno whether i want to watch the video or not…. great list :D

  • DannyK

    GA! PARASTIES ARE NA-NASTY! the video of the worm swimming out of the cricket is terrifying. makes me squirm and itch all over, disgusting.

  • Strembop

    so if a guy is gay stick a #1 barnacle to his goolies and he will get his wish. UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUURRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

  • johnUK

    Cool list

  • Bugsie

    I was too scared to watch the videos….

  • Chica
  • erzebet

    this is creepy as hell

  • A.C.

    Holy f**ck!

  • Mind control nyc

    Are there any proven mind control techniques to get someone to do what you want, even if you have that feeling that you’re asking too much? Fortunately, there is. It…binaural beats download

  • Here’s the better video for #3. It’s the epitome of Stockholm Syndrome.

  • srihari

    good one dude !!!

    the things which i liked was 7 & 4 .

    nice job!!!!

  • Tacwolf

    This scares me… a whole lot. this means that at some point its inevitable that this will be used by Human beings to control each other. And nobody would ever know because they could make you believe its not happening. All one would have to do is put some organism in peoples food… which makes me think Mc Donalds lol and yea even if not in our lifetimes we will at some point have the technology to do that without a doubt

  • Nabalak

    Stephanie,My book Sensitivity 101 for the Heterosexual Male is a narrative non-fiction story using many of the felmeas I met as I grew up and the lessons they taught me. Not only did I change names and appearances of everyone except myself, I also addressed this in my preface by saying This presented quite a dilemma for me. How do I write my memoir, supposedly based on facts, and at the same time disguise these women so that even their close friends would not recognize them? For days, weeks, months I stewed about, chewed on, and anguished over this seeming conundrum. And then, as luck (or providence) would have it, I stumbled upon the movie, Rashomon, a 1950 Japanese film directed by Akira Kurosawa, involving the widely differing accounts of four witnesses to a murder. The stories are mutually contradictory, leaving each viewer to determine for him or herself which account, if any, is the absolute truth. Yet each story is clearly that particular teller’s heartfelt truth. Many of the girls who the characters were based on read the book and they had no idea I was talking about them. And the ones that did know it was about them actually seemed impressed to be included in the book.Thanks for a great article.

  • They forgot one:

    Major US Corporations

    Major US corporations will infect themselves in unsuspecting humans by seeming to supply the means necessary for the human to fulfill their desire to survive. The Major US corporation will promise a reasonable compensation with opportunity for unlimited success in return for what they deem minor mental and physical contributions from the human host. In reality, the compensation is rarely enough to guarantee full survival of the host and its offspring. The Major US Corporation infects the brain of its human host causing the human to return to work day after day in a zombie-like state in hopes that it will reach the goal of independent wealth that will never come. The few humans that do achieve some level of succcess are really only serving to guarantee the continued propegation of the parasite Corporation by acting as “bait” to attract new hosts. As time moves on, the hosts are sucked dry of their lives by the parasite, new hosts are attracted by the few seemingly successful humans, and the process starts all over again.