Parasite turns ants into juicy berries to entice hungry birds

Here's a freaky Parasite Rex moment for you: an Amazonian nematode makes infected ants swell up to resemble bright red berries, which entices birds to eat them and then spread the nematodes around the jungle:

This bizarre lifecycle of a parasitic nematode, or roundworm, plays out in the high canopy of tropical forests ranging from Central America to the lowland Amazon, according to Robert Dudley, a professor of integrative biology at the University of California, Berkeley.

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Mood-altering cat parasites make women friendly and men into jerks

A parasite that causes rats to sacrifice themselves to cats may also change human behavior, making women more outgoing and warmhearted, and men more jealous and suspicious. The Toxoplasma bacteria protist is shed in cat feces, which are eaten by rats; infected rats become fearless in the presence of cats, which makes them easier to catch, which, in turn spreads the disease to new cats. — Read the rest