29th January, 2013

French scientists Nicolas Rode and Eva Lievens have found that two species of shrimp form swarms because they are being controlled by parasites in their bodies. Some of these need to get into birds to complete their life cycle. Others need to pass from one shrimp to another. They all achieve this by controlling their hosts and making them gather in large conspicuous swarms. In a group, they make it easier for the parasites to jump between them, and they are more easily spotted and devoured by flamingos.
It’s a sinister twist on animal gatherings: Rather than finding safety in numbers, the shrimp are being collectively herded towards death’s door by unseen forces.
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French scientists Nicolas Rode and Eva Lievens have found that two species of shrimp form swarms because they are being controlled by parasites in their bodies. Some of these need to get into birds to complete their life cycle. Others need to pass from one shrimp to another. They all achieve this by controlling their hosts and making them gather in large conspicuous swarms. In a group, they make it easier for the parasites to jump between them, and they are more easily spotted and devoured by flamingos.

It’s a sinister twist on animal gatherings: Rather than finding safety in numbers, the shrimp are being collectively herded towards death’s door by unseen forces.

Read More

Notes

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    If I’m right this parasite is related to a species that I’ll be doing some research on this summer!
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