Monday, October 30, 2006

Dicrocoelium dendriticum - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Wow - I must admin that this is the kind of thing that makes me doubt both evolution and creation, for differing reasons.

Dicrocoelium dendriticum - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "Dicrocoelium dendriticum) is a parasite which lives its life in three animals.

First stage: D. dendriticum starts life as eggs found in the dung of cattle. This dung is fed upon by snails which allow the eggs to enter the snail's intestine. Once inside, the eggs hatch and burrow into the digestive gland of the snail. The flukes reproduce in this gland and are expelled from the snail in slime trails.

Second Stage: Ants happen upon the slime and consume it as a source of moisture thus taking the new flukes into their system. Once inside the parasite shows an interesting tactic. By controlling nerve centers of the ant they are able to control its behaviour. When the sun sets and temperatures drop the ant is compelled to attach itself to a tall blade of grass by its mandibles. Here it lies in wait to be ingested by some grazing animal. If the ant survives the night the sun prompts it to return to the colony and live its life normally, until the next night. Eventually the ant is eaten by some grazing animal.

Final Stage: Flukes living within ants are eaten by cattle while grazing. The flukes will enter the digestive system and force their way into the cow's liver, here they will continue to grow to adults capable of producing eggs."

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