Sample Admission Essay on Mind Controlling Parasites

PART 1: A TOPIC OUTLINE

  1. Abstract
  2. Introduction
  • Mechanisms of mind controlling parasites
  1. Types of mind controlling parasites
    1. Ophiocordyceps unilateralis
    2. Glyptapanteles
    3. Hymenoepimecis argyraphaga
  2. Comparison of the 3 mind controlling parasites
    1. Ophiocordyceps unilateralis
      1. Morphology
      2. Diversity
      3. Life cycle
      4. Geographic distribution
      5. Host impact
      6. Mechanisms for controlling host
    2. Glyptapanteles
      1. Morphology
      2. Diversity
      3. Life cycle
      4. Geographic distribution
      5. Host impact
      6. Mechanisms for controlling host
    3. Hymenoepimecis argyraphaga
      1. Morphology
      2. Diversity
      3. Life cycle
      4. Geographic distribution
      5. Host impact
      6. Mechanisms for controlling host
    4. Comparisonsof mechanisms of control
      1. Similarities in mechanisms for controlling host
      2. Differences in mechanisms for controlling host
  • Medicinal potential of mind controlling parasites
    1. Ophiocordyceps unilateralis
    2. Glyptapanteles
    3. Hymenoepimecis argyraphaga
  • Importance in ecosystems of mind controlling parasites
  1. Dangers of mind controlling parasites
  2. Conclusion

PART 2: DETAILED OUTLINE

  1. Abstract

Mind controlling parasites are common in rain forests. They have the capability of controlling their host’s mind. They do this by altering the behavior of the host in order to benefit themselves. Different types of mind controlling parasites use several different mechanisms to control the host’s mind. These mechanism show a lot of similarities and differences, which this research aims to unveil. In addition, they also display differences and similarities in terms of physiology, morphology, diversity, life cycle, geographic distribution, and impacts on host among others. Apart from giving elaborate comparisons, the paper will also discuss the medicinal potential of mind controlling parasites as well as their significance in the ecosystems.

  1. Introduction

Even though the story of mind controlling parasites may seem like science fiction, it is for real. These small creatures have a unique behavior of controlling the mind of host for their own benefits. They accomplish their desires by invading and controlling the mind of hapless hosts, thus causing the host to do whatever they want. This is a relatively new discovery in the field of biology. Biologists refer to this phenomenon as ‘zombie behavior.’ The three most common types of mind controlling parasites are glyptapanteles, hymenoepimecis argyraphaga, and ophiocordyceps unilateralis. They are commonly found in rain forest especially on woods and trees. Several current researches are underway trying to discover their mechanisms. Although researches continue, several similarities and differences have been discovered in their mechanism.

  • Mechanisms of mind controlling parasites

These parasites have perfected the art of infection is such that they only need to control the mind of the host in order to get what they want. By controlling the hot’s mind, they are able to change their host behavior for their own benefit. There are few pieces of literature on the mechanism used by these parasites to control their host minds. The exact mechanisms used by these parasites are not clearly understood. However, a general consensus is that mind-controlling parasites have evolved their ability to manipulate and determine their host’s behavior. The mechanisms can only be lightly explained by observation the interaction between these parasites and their hosts. Some insects inject special chemicals or hormones on the hosts to control their behavior. These approaches will be clearly explained when talking about each parasite.

The mechanism used by mind controlling parasites to influence and change the behavior of their host can be compared to how scientists effect a similar change by stimulating certain neural pathways. Mind controlling parasites target a number of specific neurological pathways to change behavior of their hosts. Basically, they use two mechanisms namely alteration of neuro-chemical communication and infection of central nervous system.

  1. Types of mind controlling parasites

There are several types and classes of mind controlling parasites. Wherever, this research will focus on only selected three namely (1) the ophiocordyceps unilateralis, (2) the glyptapanteles, and (3) the hymenoepimecis argyraphaga.

  1. Comparison of the 3 mind controlling parasites
    1. Ophiocordyceps unilateralis

Ophiocordyceps unilateralis is one of the widely known parasites the controls host mind. It is a type of fungus that pathogenises insects. Ophiocordyceps unilateralis is commonly found in tropical forest ecosystems especially on woods and trees. It is mostly found in the tropical forests of Brazil and Thailand. This parasite is known of altering the behaviors of ants that it comes across in the ecosystem. Once infected, the ant immediately leaves its canopy nest on the forest floor to facilitate the fungal growth. The infected ant goes ahead using its mandibles to affix itself on the leaf’s underside where it remains until eventual death. Ophiocordyceps unilateralis undergoes unique challenges throughout its lifecycle. It meets these unique challenges using specialized and unique metabolic activities. For instance, it securely attaches itself on the exoskeleton of arthropod to suppress the host’s defense or resistance.

  1. Glyptapanteles

Glyptapanteles is another type of mind controlling parasites. It belongs to the genus of endoparasitoid wasp. Glyptapanteles parasites are commonly found in both North America and Central America. The parasite is distinguished by its ability to manipulate and control the host caterpillar. In particular, it controls its host caterpillar to serve as bodyguard, protecting its larvae. Glyptapanteles parasitize many types of insects such as caterpillars, Chrysodeixis chalcites, Thyrinteina leucocerae, as well as Lymantria dispar. It mostly parasitizes caterpillars. It has ability of changing the behavior of caterpillar to protect its larvae. They do this to improve their survival odds in the ecosystem. The infected caterpillar then changes its behavior and start warding off all potential predators of the young larvae. However, not all Glyptapanteles’ larvae successfully emerge from the host caterpillar. Only about 60% of the larvae survive.

  1. Hymenoepimecis argyraphaga

Hymenoepimecis argyraphaga is another renowned type of mind controlling parasite. The parasite is commonly found in rain forest especially in forests of Costa Rica. It is commonly referred to as the Costa Rican parasitoid wasp because of its high presence in Costa Rica. Hymenoepimecis argyraphaga mainly parasitizes spiders especially the genus of Plesiometa argyra. However, it also parasitizes other types of insects found in the rain forest. Hymenoepimecis argyraphaga has a unique behavior of making the spider modifies how it builds the web. Once infected by Hymenoepimecis argyraphaga, a spider start making webs with strong lines so that it can support the cocoon produced by the parasite. It then produces strong web that can hold the parasite’s cocoon for long. This helps protect the cocoon until it hatches. The spider also changes its behavior and start building non-sticky web frames. Adult Hymenoepimecis argyraphaga is known for laying its eggs on a spider’s web. However, it does this after parasitizing the spider.

  1. Comparisons of mechanisms of control
    1. Similarities in mechanisms for controlling host
  • They all use infection of the central nervous system mechanism
  • They all use alteration of neurochemical communication mechanism
  • They all stimulate the host’s neurological pathways
    1. Differences in mechanisms for controlling host
  • They target different specific neurological pathways
  • Some control the host mind by inducing water-seeking behaviors
  • Some control the host’s mind by using osmolality mechanism (altering the concentration of salt)
  • Some secret hormones that suppress the host’s immune system
  • Medicinal potential of mind controlling parasites

Little is known about the medicinal potential of mind controlling parasites. However, this does not mean that they do not have medicinal potential. In addition, some species of mind controlling parasites such as Ophiocordyceps have been proved to have significant medicinal potential. These species produce various types of metabolites that have great medicinal values. In addition, they also produce several varieties of natural substances that are structurally uncharacterized. All these natural products may have significant medicinal value due to their uniqueness. Further, other researchers have identified that mind controlling parasites produce natural structurally uncharacterized substances that are useful in the production of immunomodulatory, hypocholesterolemic targets, hypoglycemic, as well as antitumor among others. At the moment, most naphthoquinone derivatives are being removed from the unilateralis species. These naphthoquinone derivatives are commonly used in the production of malarial drugs. Ophiocordyceps unilateralis, Glyptapanteles, and Hymenoepimecis argyraphaga all have medicinal potential.

  • Importance in ecosystems of mind controlling parasites

Multiple species of parasites co-infect hosts resulting in an overwhelming complexity of the ecosystem. An individual host can exist as an ecosystem because its environment contains diverse entities such as commensal symbionts, parasitic organisms, as well as host immune components among others. All these entities interact with each other for energy, space, and resource in the ecosystem. The significance of parasite-host relation in the ecosystem is a clearly defined subject. Such interactions directly influence the host’s survival, heath, fitness, and reproductive output. The mind controlling parasites plays significant roles in the ecosystem by limiting resources, influencing stability, as well as assembling the community rules. The stability of the ecosystem cannot be maintained if they are removed.

  1. Dangers of mind controlling parasites

The worst thing about mind controlling parasites is that they infect both animals and human beings. They may make the infected animal become more adventurous and less fearful. The infected humans may show a wide range of weird symptoms. When infected, men tend to become more suspicious, prone to breaking rules, and withdrawn. They also reduce the immunity of the infected people. Lastly, mind-controlling parasites pass infections to people.

  1. Conclusion

Parasites exist in all ecosystems. Some of the parasite attack and control mind of the hosts. While most of them attack a wide range of host, some parasites are specialized towards specific hosts. Manipulation of the host behavior is one of the toolbox that mind-controlling parasites are using to transmit diseaseseffectively. This research is designed to unveil the differences and similarities in mechanism used by mind controlling parasites. It uses three examples of such parasites namely glyptapanteles, and hymenoepimecis argyraphaga to study their existing differences and similarities. This research is significant for creating awareness on the different mechanism used by mind controlling parasites. In addition, it helps identify how parasites are able to create zombie behaviors.