Articles, Blog

These Hairworms Eat a Cricket Alive and Control Its Mind | Deep Look

August 31, 2019


The day starts normally enough. You give
your pet some food and water. But later … … in your pet’s water dish, you find this. A hairworm. It didn’t get here on its own. It came out of a little cricket. Don’t believe me? OK. These hairworms are gnarly parasites. They actually control a cricket’s mind to get to their home: the water. The hairworm’s journey starts innocently enough, in a river, as an egg … one of many in this long string. The eggs grow into squiggly larvae, which get eaten by a mayfly larva that also lives in the river. And inside the mayfly is exactly where the hairworm needs to be. The hairworm uses this pointy part to
burrow into the mayfly’s flesh. Then it curls up and waits. Because, really, it’s not after a mayfly. It’s after a cricket. So it sits tight, while the mayfly larva turns into an adult and heads to dry land … where it just might get eaten by a cricket … that has no idea what it’s in for. Inside the cricket the hairworm goes at it, eating all the cricket’s stored-up fat, for about a month. The cricket loses its chirp, but
the hairworm doesn’t kill the cricket … … because the worm needs a lift back to
the water. Crickets usually avoid bodies of water.
They’re not great swimmers. So the worm takes over, boosting chemicals in the cricket’s brain, which make the cricket walk around mindlessly until it happens
to reach water. Scientists in France watched this infected cricket make a beeline for the pool. The hairworm makes a break for it. Still going. Ugh, that’s just … ugh. But don’t worry. They don’t target humans. Ready for more? This one at the University of New Mexico … … has a whole lot of hairworms inside it. They don’t waste any time, curling around each other to mate … even before they’re fully outside the cricket. But it’s more than a gruesome spectacle of nature. Learning about these hairworms could help scientists … understand parasites like toxoplasma … that make us very sick. As for the crickets, don’t feel bad. If they don’t drown, most of them survive their ordeal. At least that’s what scientists have seen in the lab. They go back to being crickets and hopefully stay on dry land. Hi, it’s Lauren. Who’s hungry for more after that? We’d love to make more videos of amazing critters up close all year round. But we need your help. We’re a member-supported PBS show from KQED, in San Francisco. That means to grow, we need you, our YouTube fans, to support us on Patreon. Are you in? Link is in the description. Thanks.

100 Comments

  • Reply Gabriela Quiros February 12, 2019 at 4:58 pm

    Hi Deep Peeps! I produced this episode of Deep Look. To find out more details about the strange relationship between the hairworm and cricket, you can read the article I wrote: https://www.kqed.org/science/1937775/these-hairworms-eat-a-cricket-alive-and-control-its-mind Thanks for watching, and consider supporting us on Patreon so we can go film some episodes in Oaxaca, Mexico. -Gabriela

  • Reply Hams Must Be Steamed August 8, 2019 at 2:09 pm

    "Don't worry it doesn't affect humans"

    Not Yet,
    But evolution and mutation does exist. Plus adaptation, if needs are to be met.

  • Reply Jun Daniel Gyu Lee Kim August 8, 2019 at 3:01 pm

    I dont want to think about it controling humans.
    ****

  • Reply Meemil August 8, 2019 at 8:21 pm

    Neurax worm irl

  • Reply Tiny [weird, smart, magical] August 8, 2019 at 11:40 pm

    Boyfriend: I’m gonna be as gentle as possible

    Also him: 3:00

  • Reply who am i pls tell me August 9, 2019 at 5:42 am

    so that's why i love taking showers …

  • Reply Keisha Astilla August 10, 2019 at 2:10 am

    Sees hairworm in dogs bowl

    Packs bag

    Me:Here's the keys to the house worm

  • Reply Sorū Bikutoria August 10, 2019 at 5:45 am

    Hair worms are fascinating

  • Reply MJW August 10, 2019 at 9:31 am

    Grabs flame thrower.

  • Reply Muffin Playz! August 10, 2019 at 9:51 am

    Time to throw my lake away. Because I saw a cricket in the lake

  • Reply IKEA Master August 10, 2019 at 7:45 pm

    Crickets are cute. I MEAN LOOK AT THAT FACE

  • Reply Mat7920 H August 11, 2019 at 6:28 am

    looks at spaghetti

  • Reply loly lollol August 11, 2019 at 7:33 am

    W I G G L Y B O I

  • Reply dkphantomdk August 11, 2019 at 8:30 am

    Ok, so all life on earth should have a purpose.. then we have these Hairworm, what are they good for ?
    – nothing I guess .. it is just an endless lifecycle of nothing !

  • Reply Ecco Sabanovic August 11, 2019 at 8:39 am

    He attacc..
    He Protecc

    But most importantly,

    He exit from his bacc..

  • Reply NyetNyet 623 August 11, 2019 at 11:19 am

    oH gOD, that mind controlling scene is actually pretty satisfying… am I the only weird one?

  • Reply Sid August 11, 2019 at 7:08 pm

    Who felt some weird tingling in theor body while watching the video.
    As if you know 👀

  • Reply Fenix Minerva August 11, 2019 at 7:52 pm

    The worm named him Cricket Bennington. Why?

    CRAWLING IN MY SKIIIIIIN!

  • Reply slime life August 12, 2019 at 4:44 am

    Insect world is the most fascinating on earth

  • Reply John Public August 12, 2019 at 2:28 pm

    I witnessed these emerging from a cricket when I was a kid. It was the most mesmerizingly horrific thing I've ever seen. Then, years later, upon watching the emergence scene in "Alien", I was like, meh…

  • Reply ilias August 12, 2019 at 3:03 pm

    Hans… Get ze flammenwerfer

  • Reply Lonii Bang August 12, 2019 at 3:41 pm

    How they get all this evidence 😂😂how they get so close

  • Reply Jae B August 13, 2019 at 2:16 am

    Eeww gross

    finishes the entire video

  • Reply Shadow Master17 August 13, 2019 at 9:45 pm

    i WAS EATING!!!!!!!!!! NOOOOOOOOOO XDXD

  • Reply Graeme Gunn August 14, 2019 at 2:45 am

    But how does it fit inside? Where is it? It's like the whole cricket.

  • Reply Attack Helicopter Jr August 14, 2019 at 3:54 am

    that cricket got assraped by a hairworm inside out

  • Reply tulipvalley111 August 14, 2019 at 5:55 pm

    Who else is traumatized 🙋‍♀️

  • Reply Bella Gorena August 14, 2019 at 11:36 pm

    Throw out the dish and burn the house

  • Reply Lark August 15, 2019 at 2:02 am

    Burn them. Burn them all.

  • Reply Jacklyn Mackie August 15, 2019 at 6:59 am

    I’m afraid to drink water now

  • Reply gaming with bros August 15, 2019 at 9:51 am

    cricket: Im skippin mayflies back to french flies i dont want to end up like my bro

  • Reply gaming with bros August 15, 2019 at 9:58 am

    they will evolve to make crickets mechs

  • Reply azizah sulaiman August 15, 2019 at 5:34 pm

    I always find this in my bathroom 😓🙏😫

  • Reply Lucy No name August 15, 2019 at 10:59 pm

    Reminds me of that story on John Carpenter's Body Bags lol

  • Reply WaterArko August 16, 2019 at 1:50 am

    1:23 what you are looking for

  • Reply Ben Thành Võ August 16, 2019 at 2:33 am

    Wiggle wiggle wiggle

  • Reply Shema Gamer August 16, 2019 at 3:10 am

    The hair worm picked a wrong place because humans are gonna notice it then grab it out and stomp it

  • Reply Yumeng Taing August 16, 2019 at 6:03 am

    controlling mind is real?

  • Reply Kal El August 16, 2019 at 11:16 am

    They have the same thing but a fungus version that makes people b-line to jail. It's designed for political opponents and pretty much any business that has any future.

  • Reply Linu Shaji August 16, 2019 at 3:41 pm

    Me: when I see hair worm on my hand
    Hair worm: hi
    Me: takes pistol aiming myself

  • Reply Liuhuayue August 16, 2019 at 7:14 pm

    Now imagine a tapeworm coming out of a human. Yikes.

  • Reply DragonPusheen August 17, 2019 at 3:46 am

    They won't target humans.

    Me in the pool with a hairworm: Screams and gets out

  • Reply HamzatheFarhat August 18, 2019 at 1:00 am

    Always drink filtered water people

  • Reply TheNegitive Gamer August 18, 2019 at 9:55 am

    what if the cricket got eaten by a bird? or something

  • Reply Matile Carol Waters August 18, 2019 at 8:41 pm

    Sure its not nano morgellans manmade to do us all over .

  • Reply sang yoon lee August 19, 2019 at 3:12 pm

    How did a ride go? Did u have fun?

  • Reply Baguio Girl August 20, 2019 at 1:21 pm

    Even you said it won't target Human, still look creepy wen you see them in your own pool. 😐🤪
    Luckily I don't have pool in my apartment 😁

  • Reply kurwitz August 20, 2019 at 2:43 pm

    this is so gross..

  • Reply master gaming746 August 20, 2019 at 11:46 pm

    I don't even wanna look at it coming out

  • Reply Kawaiimuds August 21, 2019 at 1:22 am

    “Cricket, more like grasshopper”

  • Reply Alec Remoticado August 21, 2019 at 6:32 am

    Probably a bad time to be eating spaghetti right….

  • Reply Patrik Znika August 21, 2019 at 1:53 pm

    Now i feel i don't wanna drink anything lol

  • Reply the doge August 21, 2019 at 5:33 pm

    it is 2:00 am,why am i watching this

  • Reply Millie Thompson August 21, 2019 at 8:47 pm

    Please don’t tell me there in the uk

  • Reply {GuCci}Sami August 21, 2019 at 8:51 pm

    Ouuchh my stomach hurts pls stop

  • Reply Briggs’ Drawing Tutorials August 21, 2019 at 11:30 pm

    How did that long string like creature fit in that cricket?

  • Reply XxD4RK AL13NxX August 22, 2019 at 7:45 am

    The forbident spaguetti

  • Reply OriginalZoozy ZooGaming August 22, 2019 at 10:38 am

    Looking For BEANS
    Again For This
    0:25
    BEGON TH0T ANIMAL OF FOOD DRINKING BATCH
    OH NO!!!
    1:57

  • Reply Discovaria August 22, 2019 at 1:04 pm

    Science: do not eat them or you will get infected
    Mongolians: lets eat some crickets

  • Reply Succulent Beans August 23, 2019 at 5:35 am

    Watching the worm escape and shake the cricket around as it slid and squirmed into the pool made me uncomfortable on so so many levels

  • Reply Apentogo August 24, 2019 at 1:43 pm

    i thought the internet had me desensitized…nope! apparently not!
    im so glad i live in a boring non exotic country that doesnt support freak mutations of life.

  • Reply Nae August 24, 2019 at 2:15 pm

    Omg.. 🙀

  • Reply Its Me Tornado August 24, 2019 at 5:01 pm

    Anyone willing to help me sleep today?

  • Reply 64 master August 24, 2019 at 9:37 pm

    Ohhh boy I believe you I just saw some exit a grass hopper

  • Reply Infirna August 24, 2019 at 9:51 pm

    Hehe. Mind conroling hentai

  • Reply Joanna Forbes August 24, 2019 at 10:30 pm

    I used to catch these things lol. I call them Horse Hair Worms

  • Reply Gankageddon August 24, 2019 at 11:10 pm

    Welp time to Alt F4 all water on the planet.

  • Reply Kwame Green August 25, 2019 at 3:03 am

    I had to get up off the toilet

  • Reply KircheOW August 25, 2019 at 9:39 am

    I'm never swimming in an outdoor pool or lake etc again , that's disgusting

  • Reply daRa August 25, 2019 at 9:57 am

    Scientist are probably creating one that does target humans….

  • Reply Setere Musuhe7J August 25, 2019 at 12:55 pm

    OH MY GOD that’s goooooooooooosssssssssss🤢🤢🤢🤢🤢🤢🤢🤢🤢🤢🤢

  • Reply Setere Musuhe7J August 25, 2019 at 12:56 pm

    I meant gross but still 🤢🤢🤢🤢🤢🤢🤢🤢

  • Reply Setere Musuhe7J August 25, 2019 at 1:01 pm

    IF I EVER SEE THAT IAM GOING TO CALL THE GOVERMENT OR USE A TANK TO DESTROY IT🤢🤢🤢🤢🤢🤢🤢🤢😤😤😤😤😤😤😤😤😤😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡👿👿👿👿👿👿👿👿😈😈😈😈😈😈😈💀💀💀💀💀💀💀💀☠️☠️☠️☠️☠️☠️☠️

  • Reply Woozie August 25, 2019 at 1:09 pm

    Now where I'd put that flame thrower

  • Reply Huawei Juthi August 25, 2019 at 1:24 pm

    i freaking found 2 hairworms in my bathtub

  • Reply Gabriel Arenas August 26, 2019 at 2:34 am

    Her:don't believe it okay
    Me I BEILEVE IT PLZ DON'T SHOW YET
    Her: shows the picture

  • Reply sillybilly98 August 26, 2019 at 8:10 pm

    Y’all itching yet.

  • Reply Carmo August 26, 2019 at 11:44 pm

    poor crickets :c

  • Reply don't ask me August 26, 2019 at 11:46 pm

    Hairworm are more like ALIENWORM !!

  • Reply Jadyn Rae August 27, 2019 at 12:59 am

    this may be the 3:00 am talking but bugs are super interesting rn

  • Reply sleepy kitty August 27, 2019 at 1:21 am

    Gross. :^)

  • Reply skeptic-observer August 27, 2019 at 1:30 am

    Well, found this: Two Human Cases Infected by the Horsehair Worm, Parachordodes sp. (Nematomorpha: Chordodidae), in Japan https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3428576/

  • Reply larlie August 27, 2019 at 10:00 am

    2:46 i am NEVER going in a pool again

  • Reply Noob 9281 August 27, 2019 at 3:10 pm

    Makes Cricket Noises to see a hAiRwOrM

  • Reply Crappy Sunset August 27, 2019 at 6:30 pm

    Hey there, you just got nightmares

  • Reply Brieana Rochelle August 27, 2019 at 11:28 pm

    Yuccccckkkk

  • Reply ashley hurd August 28, 2019 at 10:04 am

    im never gonna swim in the pools anymore

  • Reply Alex Ngo August 28, 2019 at 5:03 pm

    Drake: u use to call me in my cell phone

    Worm: may not when u see myself

  • Reply Matías s August 29, 2019 at 12:41 am

    I wonder what they taste like ( ◜‿◝ )

  • Reply Alice in a bad world. O-o August 29, 2019 at 8:54 am

    What if your pet eats the hair worm?
    What would happen to your pet?
    Could your pet die from the hair worm?
    Now I never wanna swim again.

  • Reply seastorm1979 August 29, 2019 at 5:00 pm

    Aliens are already here!!!!!!

  • Reply KT LoveBTS August 30, 2019 at 2:56 am

    0:52 yall wanna see aliens?
    Magnify those creatures…heck, yall don’t even need to magnify nothing

    Why are they so smart tho…’worm takes over-‘

  • Reply Erin P. August 30, 2019 at 2:58 am

    Me: sees video

    pauses video
    runs outside and checks every body of water close by

  • Reply Vlone August 30, 2019 at 8:43 am

    SHEEEESH

  • Reply shawarma sorm August 30, 2019 at 12:05 pm

    Hairworms be like

    MIND CONTROL JUTSU

  • Reply Christopher Thorkon August 30, 2019 at 7:41 pm

    Well that's enough YouTube for today.

  • Reply Evan Cottonaro August 30, 2019 at 10:23 pm

    Tentacle hentai

  • Reply Lilz.MonkeyBoy August 31, 2019 at 1:38 am

    Human: flamethrower spiders
    Shows human a video of hairworms crawling out of crickets
    Human: nuke the Earth

  • Reply Expecto Patronum August 31, 2019 at 3:16 am

    I am utterly disgusted by those hairworms, who else?

  • Reply The Cool Axolotl Logan August 31, 2019 at 3:27 am

    Wait, so you're telling me there is TWO VIRUSES that can control bugs

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