Nature is so disgusting

New research has discovered a parasite/virus that makes rats lose all fear of cats and in certain cases seek out their company. The cat, upon eating the rat then restarts the life cycle of the parasite/virus which requires the cats body chemistry to propagate.

And please don’t think of the insects in those figs as some sort of contaminant.

They’re extra protein!

This thread is reminding me of a line from an X-Men comic back in the mid 80’s.

Longshot is being served a breakfast of ham and eggs and says something along the lines of, “Great! Dead, burned animal flesh and unborn baby birds!”

One of these days I’ll tell you guys about my Dad’s family’s hog head cheese and calf brains (2 separate dished), but this is probably the wrong thread.

Well, that statement is absolutely wrong.

The fig used by Fig Newtons are Calimyrna figs. In this species of fig, there are synconia (what we call the fruits, are actually an inside out flower cluster) that are male, and synconia that are female. The male synconia are called caprifigs. It is in these caprifigs that there are the wasps, males and females. In figs, the wasps can only oviposit eggs into short styled flowers (which are male). They cannot do this in the long styled female flowers (which are in the figs we eat). Males spend their entire lives in the figs they were born and never leave.

When wasps lay their eggs in male figs, the wasps inside hatch, and do their duty (apparently all the males do is live to mate, and cut exit holes out of the synconia for females). The impregnated females fly out through the holes in the caprifig cut for them by males (while getting dusted by pollen on the way out), and head for a female or male fig tree. The wasps that enter the female figs (only one, because the entrance of a receptive fig closes soon after the female enters), attempt to lay eggs in the long styled female flowers.

Because they cannot insert their ovipositors into the flowers (it’s too deep for them), they give up, and search for another flower. Since none of the flowers are short styled, the wasp loses the battle and lays no eggs (while doing this she fertilizes the female flowers). She eventually dies. While the fruit matures, the enzymes within the fruit dissolve the single wasp, and ripen (unripened calimyrna figs just fall off the tree).

So, you get seeds (which give the nutty flavor and crunch to fig newtons) and delicious fruit, not a fruit full of wasps (which can fit through the eye of an ordinary sewing needle, by the way). Quite an ingenious way for the figs to be assured of pollination, and the wasps assured of a place to live.

By the way, in French Polynesia, the enzyme rich sap of a native fig are used to cure skin diseases and kill parasitic worms (bringing it back to this thread)

The above info was taken from:

Note: please, before presenting something as fact, make sure you have it right ;). Apologies if i sound so snippy, but plant misinformation is a small pet peeve of mine.

Oh, and i do suggest exploring the rest of the site I gave the link to. There’s some very fascinating stuff in it (and probably fodder for this thread).

Ever heared about those flies (in Africa???) who will lay there eggs into animal/human wounds?
it is warm there… you know…


Well, there’s the ants that “raise” aphids for the “honeydew” they excrete - not milking them exactly, but still interesting.

Any number of species, including most birds, regurgitate to feed their young, which counts as rather disgusting, I think.

Then, there is the hagfish:

What’s interesting is that the parasite wants to get back into a bird to complete its life cycle, and the display is intended to advertise the snail to birds so it gets eaten. Somebody asked about this one in GQ:

*Originally posted by Doobieous *
<snip> but plant misinformation is a small pet peeve of mine. /QUOTE]

Man oh man Doob, you constantly amaze me with your plant knowledge.

Why on Earth are you majoring in Spanish? :confused:

When it comes to fruits, Doob’s tops.

[sarcasm]Oh. That’s a good source of info.[/sarcasm]

the fda did not specify exactly what insects were in the fig newton. what they did say was that the fig paste due to the nature of the fig could be infested by insects before and during harvest; not to mention after harvest in storage. they would refuse the fig paste if the contamination was at 13 or more insect heads\parts per 100 grams, or at 10%. they sited the fig’s pollenation and the stickyness of the fig trapping other insects, .

the strawberry newton made with strawberry paste is refused at 5% contamination. the fda sites after harvest storage for insect contamination.

personally, doobieous, i enjoyed fig newtons until about 10 years ago when i read about the insect part thing. now i just go with the strawberry newtons. i prefer 5% to 10% .

thank you for your post on figs. i found it very interesting. you are indeed most knowledgeable in plants. thank you.

Well Sue, because at my school, science majors have to take a butt load of math, and I suck at that. Also, they have to take other science courses before they narrow their focus down (Chem, organic chem, physics, geo, hydro, atmospheric, bio, and some botany), also there’s no Botany focus in the traditional sense (it’s a very new school, less than five years). The Major focuses on a kind of holistic approach to science. Also, it’s a little more suited to Marine Science folks (with the Moss Landing Marine Labs grad school and all nearby).
Also, I just love language as much as i do plants. I keep plants more as a hobby, but i do try to learn about them so i better understand their nature ;). Also, i know things like that because they interest me a lot (the plant world is pretty damn cool). But, if i ever want to in the future, i could go back to school and get a degree in botany. :wink:

MrC: You’re one funny bitch, you know that? :smiley:

Rockingchair: Well, the FDA doesnt really understand how the fig polination cycle works, from what you say they said. And, just because there’s a possibility of contamination, doesnt mean the fig paste has 10% insect parts. Personally i find it a silly reason to stop eating something just because the FDA says they allow 10% of whatever in something (i’m not saying you’re silly, just the reason).

(Then again, i’m not afraid of eating something that fell on the floor. Just pick it up and brush or wash it off :))

I believe ordinary flies will do that if you give them a chance.

Before antibiotics, doctors would sometimes deliberately put maggots on a wound. That’s because the maggots only eat dead tissue, and gangrene gets started in dead tissue. I’ve also heard that, because antibiotics are losing effectiveness, doctors may use this technique again.



Wasps in figs?


…I was perfectly fine by all of the posts here until I read this. Just the thought of it made me have to hold my hand over my mouth to stop me from vomiting. Uggh…excuse me while I go be sick…

::dusting off my parisitology text::

  1. Scary and Gross: Naegleria fowleri-causes primary amebic meningoencephalitis. Cases reported in USA (concentrated in Virginia, Florida and Texas), Europe, Asia, New Zealand, Africa, Central America and S. America. Infection transmitted from swimming in fresh water during the hot summer months. Lakes, streams, hot springs and (chlorinated) swimming pools have been implicated as the source. The amebae pass through the nasal mucosa and wind up in the brain. Clinical course is dramatic. Disturbance in sene of smell, nausea & vomiting, stiff neck, seizures, coma, death w/i 3-6 days. Treatment: no satisfactory treatment.

  2. Less Scary but more Gross: Hydatid cyst disease-caused by Echinococcus granularis (a dog tape worm). Humans are an accidental host. The way you get infected (get this) is by ingesting something contaminated with infested dog shit. In the dog, these guys live in the intestine, like any self-respecting tape worm would. In people, appalled by the condition of our bowels, these little fellers seek more comfy quarters. The most common site of infeststion is the liver, although they can wind up in ANY organ. There, they produce cysts (think big bags of green goo from golf ball to bowling ball size inside your liver). The primary treatment is by surgical drainage of the cysts. We saw a film on this procedure during my parasitology class. It was filmed in India probably in the '60’s. The doctors in the film had no concern for protecting themselves from their patient’s bodily fluids. The film showed a doctor inserting a big syringe into a cyst in his patient’s liver (through the skin of the abdominal wall). As the Doc drew on the syringe, you see it fill with gross green goo. Overambitious, the Doc withdrew too far, completely removing the plunger from the syringe, spilling green goo all over himself, his hands (ungloved!!!), and the floor. YUCK!

OK, one more, then I’ll stop.
Very scary, VERY gross: Wuchereria bancrofti-causes elephantiasis. Larvae are deposited on skin by infected mosquito. Larvae burrow into skin, and migrate until they find lymph vessels. There, they mature. The mature block the lymphatic channels of the host. Since these channels are crucial for fluid removal from our tissues, blocking them produces SWELLING. And there you have it, elephantiasis. Big swollen legs, big swollen testes, labia, penises. Treatment-effective if given EARLY buineffective late in the disease. What a fucking scary disease.
WARNING: VERY GRAPHIC. Do not open this link unless you REALLY want to see elephantiasis

Enjoy Breakfast:)

Here’s another gross thing:

The pearl fish like many fishes in the more open waters, makes its home in a burrow. However, this burrow is not your ordinary burrow. The fish actually resides in the anus of sea cucumbers! That’s right, it lives inside the thing’s ass. What it does is, it inserts it’s tail into the anus, and then forces its way back in. It goes ALL the way in. Apparently this doesnt harm the sea cucumber, but i’d think it would be uncomfortable. Such a nice name for a gross habit.

(maybe it’s not so gross, but it is odd)