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My job was to go down the holes and check the rock samples, then recommend the explosive to deal with a particular rock. As I was headed down there , we found ourselves amidst a large cavern that was full of outer-space aliens, otherwise known as large Greys. I shot two of them. At that time, there were 30 people down there.
Insects comprise more than 75 percent of known animal species. There are somewhere around a million ants for each of us. Some scientists estimate that ants, coupled with termites, make up 20 percent of the planet’s animal biomass.
Insects have superpowers, too. Some species of male moths can smell females a mile away. Dragonflies make airborne love at 30 miles an hour Certain centipedes have poison in their mandibles and, according to one writer, “have been seen capturing birds.”
Earth is a planet of insects. They are always around to remind us that our way of interacting with the world is just one way. Butterflies can taste with their feet. Some have ears on their wings. Some—brace yourself—have eyes on their genitalia.
Monarchs navigate thousands of miles twice a year without getting lost. In southern Texas in 1921, as many as six billion Snout butterflies reportedly congregated and took flight for one huge, sun-blotting migration.
Remember the cicadas? In the Chicago area in 1956, a million and a half adult cicadas emerged per acre of lowland forest. That’s 530 tons of bugs coming out of every square mile of dirt.
There are somewhere around 10 billion insects for every square kilometer of land surface. Think about all those lives, all those murderers and egg raiders, cooperators and queens. Here’s a hypothetical: If a pair of houseflies and all their descendants were allowed to reproduce, without attrition, for a single summer, their offspring would, according to entomologist Gilbert Waldbauer, “cover the Earth to a depth of 47 feet.”
An insect's head is typically dominated by two bulging eyes.
Insects absorb nutrients from food, expel waste products via an excretory system,.
Blowflies have been implicated as possible scavengers involved in making livestock carcasses look "mutilated."
2 And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit.
3 And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.
4 And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those amen which have not the bseal of God in their foreheads.
5 And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man.
6 And in those days shall men seek adeath, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.
7 And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men.
8 And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the ateeth of lions.
9 And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the asound of chariots of many horses running to battle
Inside the host, the parasite grows long, root-like tendrils throughout the crab's body, eventually emerging as a bump on the its underside. During this process she renders the crab infertile, and creates a small opening in the crab's back that will allow a male Sacculina to make residence there. Soon the crab is filled with millions of Sacculina eggs and larvae, and like a zombie, the crab cares for these eggs and larvae as though they were its own, losing all interest in mating. When a male crab is infected, the parasite alters its physiology and behavior to be female, to better care for the Sacculina's young.
There are some interesting studies showing striking behavior differences between rats that have been infected with Toxoplasma and those that haven’t. Normal rats are very reactive to the smell of cat urine – an unsurprising survival instinct. If they encounter cat urine in their environment they have an extreme fear reaction, and they will avoid that spot thereafter. Rats infected with Toxoplasma don’t do this. They have no fear reaction to the smell of cat pee; they don’t avoid the areas where they smell it. In fact some of the studied rats preferentially returned to the sites where they had smelled the urine. It’s hard to see how this could benefit the rat, but easy to see how it could benefit Toxoplasma, which could return to its preferred host to complete its life cycle if the rat gets eaten.
Now consider that statistic from the first paragraph again. Up to one half of humans worldwide are, or have been, infected with Toxoplasma. Can something that affects the behavior of one mammalian host so drastically have no effect on the other?
The answer has always been no for some people. A small minority of people have strong psychological effects from toxoplasmosis, including delusions, hallucinations, and paranoia. The Toxoplasmamajority of the infected however, show no such drastic symptoms. Most people with toxoplasmosis have no idea they’re infected, but that doesn’t mean that they’re unaffected. At Charles University in Prague, parasitologist Jeroslav Flegr administered psychological tests to people infected with Toxoplasma, and compared them to a control group. He found alterations in the psychology of the infected individuals that seemed to be gender-based. Infected men appeared more jealous and suspicious. Infected women appeared more warm-hearted and outgoing. Both sexes seemed to be more self-reproachful than the control group.
Those results are fairly subtle. E. Fuller Torrey of the Stanley Medical Research Institute has found evidence of some that may be more drastic. Toxoplasma is associated with damage to the brain’s astrocytes – glial cells that function as an interface between neuronal and non-neuronal tissues. Astrocyte damage has also been associated with schizophrenia. Now add in that pregnant women with high levels of Toxoplasma antibodies are more likely to have children who later develop schizophrenia, and you have something to give most people pause. Torrey’s study also found that some of the drugs used to treat schizophrenia have an inhibiting effect on Toxoplasma growth.
What exactly the connection is between Toxoplasma and schizophrenia has not been determined, though it seems clear there is one. What alterations Toxoplasma makes to human psychology in general is even more unclear. What is abundantly clear is that whatever those alterations are, they affect a huge number of people. Can we afford to be as ignorant of them as we currently are?