A creepy “zombie snail” with green and orange flashing horns has been caught crawling across a hillside Changhua Country in Taiwan.
Tourist Lin Ruian said he was taken aback by the snail’s flashing lights glowing from its inside while he was going on a trek.
He said “It was very strange, so I poked it with a stick and it rolled over.”
Biologists said that the snail had been rendered a ‘zombie’, having had its motor neurons and body taken over by a parasite flatworm called the green-banded broodsac, or leucochloridium paradoxum.
The parasite invades the snail’s eye, where it creates a bright pulsing pattern to imitate a caterpillar to attract hunting birds. It also controls the snail’s movement, ‘instructing’ it to go out in the open so birds can spot it easily, forcing its own suicide.
The worm is known to create the appearance of a caterpillar so when birds eat the snail. the parasite can reproduce in the bird’s intestinal tract which later are excreted as faeces. These excreted droppings are then consumed by snails and there begins the life cycle of another parasite worm.
What are we supposed to feel, sad for the snail or happy for the parasites?