"Is my faverit butt"
This is the official tumblarg of BOGLEECH, one of the most terrifying websites ever invented by the internet. You can look at its other junk above!
From my Bug Questions blog!
Of course! Massively so!
Very nearly every single wild animal on the face of this planet, right now, has parasites in it. All of them. Every bird, every fish, every last gnat and ant you see has at the very least parasitic protozoa or fungi in its body, and nematode worms, flatworms and mites almost as often. Virtually every species ever discovered has had at least one species of parasite devoted to inhabiting it at some point in its life cycle.
It’s been this way for hundreds of millions of years - the entire web of life evolved under the presence of parasites. If they suddenly disappeared, there would be pandemonium.
For just one example, over half of a typical sea bird’s diet can consist of fish it was only able to catch because the health and behavior of the fish was impacted by parasites who require birds to complete their life cycle. Without these parasites, we would see the birds declining massively while the fish exploded in population, which under natural circumstances wouldn’t even be good for the fish, as their denser population would suffer inbreeding, food shortages and explosions of contagious disease.
On the land, parasitoid wasps are the #1 controller of caterpillars and other leaf-eating insects, who, again, would expend their own food sources if they just reproduced unhindered. The parasite, the plant, and the host all avoid extinction in the long run.
It’s like this for virtually everything on Earth. Parasites are subtle manipulators who keep the ecosystem running the way it’s supposed to.
(photo by Alex wild)
There’s even some evidence that the prevalence of allergies and certain cancers in the human race may be because we rid ourselves of parasites we were naturally adapted to having!
Unidentified caterpillar photographed by Alex Tan
This might be some of the most impressive camouflage I’ve ever seen. Looks like the caterpillar of Euthalia aconthea gurda, here it is in the open:
As usual, the Cracked editorial played up the “horror” and “disgust” humor, but I’m sure most of you know by now that I think every single thing in the article is adorable, gorgeous and enriches the world by existing. Us Cracked contributors are just expected to write “in character” as essentially a bunch of jackasses.
Look at this fucking asshole caterpillar
I featured these in this article but the animations are a far better explanation. They’re among several Hawaiian caterpillars which evolved to fill a predatory niche, unlike anywhere else in the world!
I found this photograph years ago with the title “starlet arthropod larva” and no further explanation…it’s some kind of larval insect, probably in an early instar that will quickly change to a more conventional shape.
EDIT: the image is apparently a very tiny fossil. Still can’t find a species name, if it even has one.
Taxonomy fail. Epic fail.
This is kind of adorable. At least they got a couple of them right! I totally want this.
A Japanese bagworm, photo source unknown. I’ve seen other images of this species, and yes, they always build their casing this beautifully. Log cabin caterpillars!