At Upworthy, we love to share cuddly, feel-good videos of heartwarming stories about animals.
This is not one of those stories.
Behold, today we offer instead a video of a parasite crawling out of a praying mantis. Sure, it might not be as cute as a beaver building a dam out of household items, but rest assured, it’s mesmerizing in its own dark and twisted way.
Shared by @WowTerrifying on Twitter (with the original video being credited to “Insect World”), the video shows a mantis gently having its bottom submerged in water.
Only a few seconds go by before these super creepy, spindly, dark black lines start crawling out of the mantis, and they clearly have a mind of their own. Honestly, it’s beyond gross. The only silver lining here is that the person handling the mantis appears to be offering help to the poor creature.
Watch below…at your own risk.
Praying Manis lowered into water to entice out the parasite within! 🪱😱 video credit: Insect world. pic.twitter.com/R5zvLp6KsJ
— Wow Terrifying (@WowTerrifying) February 23, 2023
This nightmarish sight is a parasite known as a horsehair worm, which is best known for a) looking a bit like the symbiote from “Spider-Man” and b) hijacking an insect’s nervous system to control their minds. Usually the latter entails getting insects like mantises and crickets to drown themselves in water so that the horsehair worm can lay eggs…thus repeating one of Mother Nature’s more morbid cycles.
If you’re feeling traumatized, you are not alone. Pretty much everyone who saw the video shared their instant regret.
“That’s enough scrolling for me,” one person lamented.
“This will haunt me,” wrote another.
Sure, the natural world is full of wonders both beautiful and terrifying, but it never fails to provide something fascinating.