Jade Headed Buffalo Beetle

Jade Headed Buffalo Beetle (Eudicella smithi)_2_1

Dicrocoelium dendriticum is a parasite that lays eggs to infect snails. Once a snail becomes infected, it protects itself by forming cysts and expelling them. This is good for the snail and for the parasite because these cysts are the yummiest things an ant has ever tasted. Once the ant eats a cyst and gets infected, the parasite gets into the ant’s brain. The ant brain takeover forces the ant to climb tall blades of grass and hang out all night. When day comes, this hold is released, so the parasite doesn’t bake in the sun along with the ant. Eventually, the grass is eaten and the parasite infects a large animal which then expels the parasite’s eggs in its dung … which are eaten by snails.

The Jade Headed Buffalo Beetle, of course, knows nothing about this and just really really likes its blade of grass.