Parasites

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The wasp’s pupa commandeering an enslaved spider. Keizo Takasuka

Wasps turn spiders into their zombie bodyguards, then kill them

Scientists in Japan have discovered a new species of wasp that induces a zombie-like state in spiders in order to manipulate them into protecting the wasp’s own offspring.
A man undergoes “xenodiagnosis” for Chagas disease in the Argentine province of Corrientes. In this procedure, uninfected triatomine bugs feed on the blood of patients. Later examination of these insects may reveal parasites acquired from infected blood. German Pomar/Reuters

Explainer: what is Chagas disease?

This parasitic infection is endemic in Central and South America, and can lead to serious health complications. Though rare in the US, incidence is starting to increase.
A parasite wants to live with you, and to do that it needs to convince your body’s immune system to ignore it. Sebastian Kaulitzki/Shutterstock

Bugs as treatment: coming to a clinic near you…

When you’re sick, you want the most effective treatment to help get you back on your feet. But what if that involved bugs? Maggots and leeches have been used for decades and are still supplied to hospitals…

Galápagos hawks inherit parasites

When Galápagos hawks diverge into distinct populations, so too do the lice that call their feathers home. A field study led…
An adult black fly with the parasite Onchocerca volvulus coming out of the insect’s antenna. United States Department of Agriculture

How some parasites can end up in your eye and turn you blind

In sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Latin America, there is a parasitic worm that infects about 25m people, causing serious skin diseases, epilepsy and blindness. Known as Onchocerca volvulus, it can live…

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