The Parasitic Worm That Turns Snails Into Disco Zombies

Nature can be so beautiful — yet so cruel.

As you know well, the natural world is filled with a seemingly endless supply of oddities.

Weird fish and bizarre reptiles coexist with strange parasites and giant bugs, living out their lives in bizarre ecosystems.

Biologist Mike Inouye shared a horrific video of the aftermath of a snail being invaded by a parasitic worm called a Leucochloridium. The footage shows how a worm makes the snail’s eyestalks appear like caterpillars in a freaky process that scientists call aggressive mimicry. After controlling the snail’s brain, the worm lures it into the open, where birds are fooled into pecking its eyes out. The worm then breeds inside an unsuspecting bird’s stomach and eggs are laid in the bird’s feces. And guess who ends up eating the eggs? You’re right, the snails. And the cycle restarts anew.

Watch the video below:

Those are parasitic worms dancing in the snail’s eyes. Dancing in the snail’s eyes. It’s like Saturday Night Fever, only with more blindness and less chest hair.