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The mind controller parasite

Only known by its scientific name: Toxoplasma Gondii, this is a microscopic protozoa, familiar to amoebas and radiolarians, with the increidible hability of infest the brain of other animals, and control its behaviour for its convenance.

Toxoplasma starts its live inside cats, spreading trhought all its cells. Feeding from it and degenerating its brain with visible symptoms like convulsions and mad behaviours. Then, it spawns go out with cats excrements, which are eventually consumed by rats. The parasite need to go back to a cat to complete its life cycle, so after getting to rat´s brain, it starts shooting chemical signals, which order the rat to follow the urine trace of cats for finally being eaten by them.

But the most terrible of this parasite, is that it CAN also infect humans. Cat´s excrements which fall to the grass can be eaten by animals like cows and chikens, which we eat. The undercooked meat of any farmed animal can transmit the Toxoplasm to us. But, which are the effects? This is still being studied, but scientist has determined that almost a half of human population has toxoplasm in their brains, and actually pregnant mothers can transmit it to their childs.

Toxoplasmosis has been asociated with cases of neurosis, violence, and even schizophrenia, and the worst of it, there is no cure.

Look yourself at the mirror, and judge your own behaviour. Could you be controlled right now?

Spanish version

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The Mantis Shrimp

Also known as “the boxer shrimp”, this is maybe not only one of the strogest animals on earth, but also the one with the better sense of vision.

Mantis shrimps live in tropical and sub tropical oceans all over the world. They are voracious hunters, who feed on almost any kind of small animal they can reach from the bottom of the sea. Some species of them has develloped sharp claws to pierce soft body animals in just one movement. Others have developped hammer like claws, for smashing the shells of crabs and even tick snails. Such is the power of their strikes, that they can even brake the glass of an aquarium in a single attack. More than it. Such is the speed of this movement, that they produce bubbles of air wich also impact the aim as a second strike sockwave.

But the most amazing of them, are their eyes. Their eyes can moove indepently one from the other. Each one posses binocular capacity (humans need to combine both eyes to get this). They can see colours from ultra violet to infrared and even they detect all tipes of polarized light better than any man made camera. In practical words, this last hability allows them to distinghish transparent preys prefectly.

Creatures like this are the result of a difficult world, where formidable enemies, require formidable weapons.

Version en espanol (spanish version)

The Bobbit Worm

This horror movie like creature is a worm of the order of polychaeta. Marine worms of an incredible variety of shapes and sizes which live in oceans worldwide.

The Bobbit Worm is a voracious predator, who lives burried in the sand just with its head looking outside. When a prey, like fish or crabs, touch one of its sensorial antenae, the worm jumps from the sand and catch the prey with its prowerfull jaws, and then take the victim to the underground to eat it. Sometimes this attack is so quick and strong that the prey is slashed in half by the predator jaws.

These creatures are surprinsingly big, reaching 2,5 cms diameter and up to 3 meters long. They live in the Indo-Pacific, preferably in warm waters. And, dispite they hunt for surviving, they are omnivorous, so they could eat a variety of things apparts from meat if necesary.

In March 2009, the Newquay’s Blue Reef Aquarium discovered a bobbit worm in one of their tanks. The workers had seen the devastation caused by the worm, such as fish being injured or disappearing and coral being sliced in half, but didn’t find it until they started taking the display apart in the tank.

Now this worm called *Barry*, is the greatest atraction of the aquarium.

Version en espanol (spanish version)

The Wind Scorpion

During the gulf war, and the invasion to Irak, many marines described a terrible spiderlike creature, of the size of a big plate, able to run as fast as a human, jump up to 4 feet in the air, eat the stomach of camels, an even put some kind of anesthesia in people while taking pieces of flesh from them…unfortunately for them…this are all myths.

Also known as Sun Spider, Camel Spider or Solifugae (their scientific name), these creatures are familiar to spiders, scorpions, ticks and mites. They live in deserts in north america and the middle east, where they lay burrowed during most of the day, for after waking up in the night to hunt preys like insects, lizards, mouses, and even spiders and scorpions.

Wind scorpions can be up to 8 inches long and can run up to 10 kilometers/hour, which is really fast for an animal of this size. They possess one of the bigger jaws in the animal kingdom, (compared to their bodies) which are not poisonous, but can do a painful bite which in most cases could become infested quickly. What maybe had really scared the marines, was the fact that these arachnids seek for shadows, so when they saw a human in the desert they started following their shadows for escaping from the sun.

So, if you go out to unknown places, be careful about the elements and the wildlife, but also, about your own imagination.

Versión en español (spanish version)

The Vampire Squid from Hell

The only survirvor of its kind. Has gained its amazing  name and its macabre scientific name “Vampyroteuthis infernalis”, by to main reasons.

First, is it shape. Its eight tentacles are envelloped by a spiny membrane with gives them the appearence of an umbrella or a bat wing and second, this squid has addapted itself to survive…in the dark side of the ocean. (600 to 1500 meters deep), specifically, where the daylight is just enought to make the landscape see like a permanent twilight.

The vampire squid can survive with the minimum oxigen. Its body is so light (almost the same consistence of a jellyfish) that it can float without efforts. It posess two long sensitive tentacles; the biggest eyes (proporcionally) of the animal kingdom and appart of it, two light receptors in the top of the head. So it is capable to detect the most minimun movement of a prey approaching.

But the most amazing of the Vampire, are its deffensive strategies. If anything menaces it, it can involve itself with the umbrella formed by its tentacles leaving the spines pointing out. If the menace persist, it haves the capacity of producing light in some shining dots spread on its skin, so it can control the brightness of the light to disapoint the predators about its actual position. And if there is the absolute need of scape, it can´t trow ink, but a shining mucus which, as the tail of an escaping lizard, distracts the enemy while the squid scapes.

But don´t be afraid, this vampire, is just 30 cms big.

Versión en español (spanish version)

The Glow Worms

Glow-Worm Grotto caves in New Zealand, have became a compulsory destiny for tourist cause of the Glow Worms. This creature is unik of this country. It can live in any kind of place with a roof and dark, but in this caves, they can be seen by thousands.

What makes this creature amazing, is the way it haunt its preys. These worms are the larvae of a unik kind of fly, which in all its fases are able to produce light. The larvae made their nests of silk and mucus in the cave roofs and from there they release several strings of the same materials. Then , using special chemicals, its tale shines, attracting flying insects like moths to the trap. The confused insects get suddenly glued on the strings, and the worm can just pull it up to enjoy the meal.

When pupas and adults, these creatures use the light to comunicate and get a couple, to restart the cycle of live again.

Many incredible creatures are lost in the deep of seas or are almost invisible, but this one, in one that can be found, seen, and enjoyed.

Version en espanol (spanish version)

The Horseshoe Crab

Most people call them crabs, but they are more close to spiders and scorpions. Actually, they are like the big grand father of all this kind. A living fossil, who saw when its lost brothers: the Trilobites and the Marine Scorpions, ruled the world.

Nowadays they can be find in the indopacific and the atlantic coasts of north america, and they atonish the scientists, not only for being a sursivor from the past, but also for their curious behavior, and some incredible properties.

Its reproductive behavior, for example, is guided by the moon cicle. Its ten composed eyes, spread around its body, can detect the ultraviolet moonlights. So the crab can know when the full moon and the new moon are coming and arrive to the mating places in time to seek for a couple.

But the most important of these creatures are the properties of theyr blood. Theyr blood is not composed by iron like human blood, but by copper. This and some especial chimics give an amazing blue tone to the liquid, and the most important, it gives the crabs blood the power to detect the presence of bacterian toxines in its body, and, as answer, to clot extremelly quick, before more bacteria could enter. This property is used in laboratories worldwide to prove if medicines and medical instruments are really sterile and able to be used in people.

So, who knows? Maybe this unknown animal has saved your live many times.

Version en espanol (spanish version)

The Radiolarians

600 million year old. More than 5 millions species identified. Spread worldwide. These are the Radiolarians. Microscopic beings who live and prosper in the plancton. They are close cousins of the Amoeba, with just an important difference: the silica skeleton which surrounds and protect their unicelular body. 

These glasslike skeletons are designed, to order and protect the important organs of the animal, also allowing its tentacles to move out to swim, catch particles and preys, trow depositions away and advice of any external stimulus. Each specie has an unique desing which variety and complexity has austonished the scientists since the first radiolarian was discovered.

Such is the beauty, perfection, and variety of radiolarian chapes, that the scientist who discovered them on the 19th cenctury, dedied all his live to study, clasify and draw them. Even an entire style of art and desing was inspired by them, which includes architecture, fourniture, and products of different kinds.

Creatures like these show us, that the most perfect designer an artist we can find, is Nature.

Version en espanol (spanish version)

The Comb Jellies

These alien spaceship like creatures, are close cousins of jellyfish, corals,  anemones and hydras. They can be found in seas worldwide, from near the  coasts to the most deep of the abyss.

All of them are predators. Their size, from some millimeters to 20 cms,  allows them to feed from particles, crustaceans, larvae, fish eggs and even  other of their kind, wich they catch using a pair of retractable tentacles or  pumping water inside their mouth to engulf the prey completely.

What caracterizes all the Comb Jellies, is their swimming mechanism. All of  them have eight lines composed by thousands of little hairs which they shake  to propel themselves.

But the most amazing of this creatures, is their ability to to produce light, shining in all the colors of the rainbow while swimming, and producing one of the most beautiful spectacles of the sea.

If you are a diver and you see one, don’t doubt on approaching and even touching it. It will be an unforgettable experience.

Version en espanol (spanish version)

The Nautilus

With a perfect  snail like shell and most octopus characteristics, this curious  creature is considered the lost link between cephalopods (squids, octopus)  and the rest of the mollusks. A living fossile which has survived without  many changes for hundreds of millions of years.

Nautilus are predators. They dig in sand near coral reefs, looking for  shrimps, crabs and small fish to feed. Their tentacles are tiny and without  suckers, and they don’t ave good eyes. But in compensation, they have up to  90 tentacles with a powerful grip and a very sharp sense of smell.

The most amazing of this animal is how it swims. It doesn’t use its tentacles at all. Its shell is divided into several cameras. This animal is able to pump water and gases inside these cameras to control its floating and also to propel itself pumping jets of water. This method is so economic in energy, that the  Nautilus just needs to feed once a month!

Just a few species of this animal are still living. But each one of them is a testimony of survival and the amazing designs of nature.

version en espanol (spanish version)