Zombies, Abominations, And Body Snatchers: Nature’s Horrifying Parasites

Ophiocordyceps fungus growing on moth

From Toxoplasma gondii to cordyceps fungi, nature is rife with bizarre and disturbing parasites. It might be best to save this one for when everyone is done eating, because these things are gross. These fungi, worms, protozoans, and other parasites can destroy their hosts' bodies and sometimes even control their minds. But unlike the fleas on your brother's girlfriend's dog (which she kind enough to share with everyone by bringing Fluffy over for dinner) we don't have to worry about most of these parasites bothering us. Andreas Kay via Flickr

If you look closely at nature, you’ll find it’s often too bizarre to believe. Sometimes it doesn’t seem to follow physical laws, but the script of a horror flick written by an overly-imaginative kid. Zombies, abominations, body-snatchers—they’re all real. Nature is full of monsters, but that’s also why it’s awesome. In honor of Halloween, here are six horrific highlights from the animal kingdom.

*Dinocampus coccinellae*
*Sacculina carcini*
*Hymenoepimecis argyraphaga*
*Toxoplasma gondii*
*Ophiocordyceps fungus*
*Ribeiroia ondatrae*