Nature is so disgusting

Are there any of those people in the SDMB who think that ‘Nature is beautiful’? Well, youre wrong. I’d hate to spoil your rose tinted view of it, but here are a few examples:
(Note: do not read before meals. Or after meals, for that matter. This is much worse than Dung Beetles etc.)

The first one is quite well known - Tapeworms. However, if you dont know, you get tapeworms from eating undercooked meat (think about that next time youre in France. They love their meat rare) . The tapeworm hatches in your gut and sticks to the surface of your intestine with suckers and hooks, and it eats your semi-digested food. Fully grown tapeworms can be many feet in length and have up to 1000 flat segments which are white and break off containing embryos. You can tell youve got one because you lose weight and you can sometimes see the white segments in your er…stool. The only way to get rid of it is to take a drug which weakens the tapeworms grip on the intestinal wall (I dont know how). It is then removed by the doctor sticking his hand up your arse and removing it by force. I think its still alive at this point but I’m not sure.

The next two are similar (if that isnt enough). One is a wasp that injects its eggs into a caterpillar. The eggs hatch open into larvae that inhibit the caterpillar’s hormone that tells it to turn into a butterfly so that the caterpillar (which is basically just an eating machine) continues eating. The larvae devour the caterpillar from the inside, and when they have grown enough, the caterpillar bursts open (I have seen films. They are foul) with all these larvae writhing about in them.

The other was mentioned in a Straight Dope answer. I can’t remember which one it was (url anyone?)
Anyway. It’s this fly or other small flying insect in which the female’s eggs hatch open inside her and the larvae also devour her from the inside.

The last is, in my opinion, by far the worst.
Have you ever eaten figs? Well, you may never eat one again.
The way a fig tree reproduces is very specialised. (it is a symbiotic relationship) A specific species of wasp gets into unripe figs where there are small flowers round the inside. It lays its eggs in these flowers. When the wasps hatch out, the female ones mate with the males inside the fig, and the males immediately die. In the fig. Great isnt it? This is the clever bit. The females then go across the male flowers picking up pollen and go off to find another fig to lay their eggs in. on the way in, they pollinate the next fig. The fertilised fig (with dead males in it) ripens and forms seeds. You eat the fig (yes, and the dead wasps) and the seeds which are not digested. You then distribute the seeds in the normal way.

Feeling sick yet?

Does anyone else know any better ones? Or do you disagree with my view of nature?

You need to watch Nature with my dad. He loves that stuff. According to him, all that gross stuff is indeed very beautiful because it demonstrates how the animal/insect/plant kingdoms take care of themselves.

I’m with you. It’s pretty gross. Kinda cool, but pretty gross.

I was nearly vomited on by a Black Vulture.
They have range and aim.
I moved in time.
Not pretty.

A program on PBS about the Antarctic a few years ago showed time-lapse photography of a dead penguin being eaten and decomposed by various worms and other sea creatures. Fascinating.

Then again, when watching those shows, I always rooted for the predator (wolf, cheetah, dingo), since prey animals breed more and faster than predator animals, and someone has to keep the prey numbers in check.

Just a little nitpick…

How do you think nature feels about YOU

Filthy bastards…

There’s a nematode whose eggs lie on the ground until you step on them. The eggs have little tooth-like structures, so when you step on them, they chew their way into your foot, enter your bloodstream, and poof, you have worms.

You should have been in my invertebrate biology class. I’ll never forget the slide of a girl lying on a bed with a pile of worms from her crotch to her knees. She’d just been given a medicine that expelled them all.

I think i’m going to cry.

I love watching all those nature shows. I mean the realistic ones, not the goofy ones that cut away just as a predator is about to rip Bambi’s throat open. Nature is indeed a cruel struggle, but that’s just how it is. Like struuter said about her dad, it’s pretty neat how all of these animals, plants, and insects interact, even if it seems cruel to us. They’re quite proficient and oppurtunistic. It’s Darwinism at it’s finest.

I personally don’t think a parasitic wasp is any worse than, say, a few hyenas taking down a gazelle, and chomping on it while the gazelle is still alive. It’s just how it goes.

I do laugh at people who find predatory animals to be “violent”, and won’t let their kids watch that type of “behavior”, but then they’ll drive them down to McDonald’s for a hamburger happy meal. Hey, mom, how about letting junior see the miracle of ground beef?

So now that I’ve done my usual fine job of straying off topic - :stuck_out_tongue: - I’ll say this:

Yeah, that stuff is pretty gross. But imagine what we, as humans, would do in a world where we truly had to fend for ourselves. Jab a pointed stick into an animal, take it down, and perhaps bash it’s skull in with a rock. Strip it of it’s fur to keep us warm. Sounds cruel to me!

Cut down a once living tree and carve out it’s innards to make a canoe. Displace whatever may have been living in that cave before we came along. Keep an animal alive just so we can take it’s milk. Sounds parasitic to me!

All the makings of your standard nature documentary. :slight_smile:

(BTW, I never did like figs. I sure as hell ain’t gonna eat them now!)

Have you ever seen the director’s cut of “Pink Flamingos?” There’s a scene of Connie and Raymond Marble walking through the woods, and Raymond is pontificating on just this subject.

Raymond: “Nature is disgusting, I hate it! Just LOOK at these animals, shitting and fucking right out here in the open!”

[bird tweets]

Raymond: “Listen to that bird—he’s just ASKING for it!”

Perhaps the most disgusting thing I’ve seen on a nature documentary was a snail. This snail was crawling along, doing its best to survive, but something (can’t remember what) had injected its larva into the snail. One of the snail’s antennae was grossly swollen and pulsating with ribbons of sickly color as the thing inside it grew. This thing pulsed along its entire length, waves coarsing from the distended end of the antenna all the way back to the snail’s slimy “head”…very very nasty.

This one’s a little better known:

There’s another worm that will migrate to just under your skin on, say, your arm. You’ll notice a sore that just won’t heal. That’s where the worm extrudes its anal region every night while you’re asleep to lay its eggs on your skin for you to distribute. The lovely thing is getting rid of it. If you pull it too hard, it will break, spilling its contents into your blood and killing you. So what you do is grab the end one night and wrap it around a pencil, giving it just a turn or two. Then you tape it to your arm so it can’t retract. The next day, you give it another turn or two. It takes a week or so to remove the whole thing. In the meantime, you have the ass end of a worm sticking out of your arm.

Have a nice day.

Nature is indeed ugly, vicious, and sick, and it fascinates the hell out of me. When something dies in the sea, birds will frequently go after the eyes. Also, i remember doing a necropsy on various sea animals at a graduate Marine Science school, and all of the dead sea lions had their faces chewed off! It’s probably a good thing we dont regularly eat sea lions, because they are often full of intestinal parasites (we didnt find any with these, surprisingly).

Parasites are lovely creatures. There’s schistosoma which will enter through your skin and get into your blood, or certain organs. They’re found in water, and infect people who bathe or wade in water. Small snails are the carriers.

There is also a fly in the tropics that lays it’s eggs on mosquitoes, which hatch, and when the mosquito lands, warmth from your body causes the maggot to jump ship, land on your skin, and burrow in. It grows to about an inch long, and you can tell it’s there, because you have a sore that wont heal, but gets bigger, and you’ll also see the hooks it uses to hold on moving around in your skin. I saw a show on Discovery where they talked about it, and the guy had to go to the hospital to get it removed. When they did surguery on the guy they pulled out this ugly, gross maggot.

Nukeman: Not to make your description of tapeworms any less disgusting, but judging by the effectiveness of canine worming medicine, I’m pretty sure the good doctor doesn’t have to fist you to get the worms out. Maybe you just have a weird doctor who likes to do things the old fashioned way?

Ick, that reminds me of when my father was raising some black labrador puppies… when he gave them the worming medicine, he didn’t take them outside, but rather let them shit their worms out INSIDE. :eek:

Max Torque: I’ve read about that parasite on the Church of the Subgenius website. Creepy.

My ecology teacher made us watch a video with a segment showing how it works the other week. eew.

Uh…I’d double check some of that tapeworm info if I were you, Nukeman.

There are several types of tapeworms but the common ones that dogs and cats get come from fleas, and an unsanitary person MAY pick up tapes from ingesting the tapeworm segments. There are other types of tapes that can be passed into humans from eating bad meat (not too common in the US, I believe). Treatment is usually a simple dose of medicine.

If you guys are ever in Japan, check the Parasite Museum near Shibuya, Tokyo. Their star exhibit is a 29-ft tapeworm removed from a human. (The specimen is in the middle; the thing on the left on the clothes hanger is a 29-ft long rope to let you “experience” the length of the thing.)

Somebody told me that biologists often smuggle tapeworm specimens from abroad by, well, being its host. When you get home you take a pill and recover the specimen.

Smeghead, that first one you mentioned is roundworm, I’m sure there are a hundred species who infect in dozens of ways, but I have heard your version applied to one of them.

Regarding the methods of removing tapeworms, I think comparing canine worm medicines to tapeworms is unaccurate, the common worms that pets get are more similar to roundworms. These are numerous small creates which are killed and expelled anally like the woman Smeghead refered to. Tapeworms are on the other hand one large creature which probably isn’t going to be easily passed matuarlly once its dead. I imagine the treatments vary based on the size of the worm, but I’d guess one or two may, or at one time did, involve manual anal extraction.

And yeah, nature is frigging gross.

Roundworm? Roundworm is a fungal infection, not a worm.

Oh no, that’s ringworm. Momentary lapse!

The thing with the figs and the wasps is this.
Dead Wasps aren’t poisonous

you’re just grossed out by the idea. If dead wasps are what makes figs so tasty, then so be it. Fig me up, woman!!

Am I the only one who sees the beauty of this??

Let me get this straight… the thing lives in your gut, and eats whatever you eat, and you LOSE WEIGHT???

Where can I get one?? :smiley:

Nature is beautiful!