3Baculovirus Hijacks Caterpillars, Turns Them into Parasitic Rainfall
The baculovirus sounds like a chrono-STD you get from boning the guy from Quantum Leap. But in reality, it's closer to the plot of the Alien movies: The baculovirus infects gypsy moth caterpillars (who are kind of pests anyway, so do try to keep that in mind when we tell you what happens to the poor lil' guys), then makes them climb to the top of the canopy and hang upside down. Which ... hey, is pretty much all right with the caterpillars? If an alien virus hacked your brain and forced you to sit on your couch and watch every episode of Three's Company back to back, you probably wouldn't mind it so much. You were going to do that anyway. The caterpillar is doing pretty good so far. Ah, but the baculovirus isn't done yet: After it maneuvers its host into a good position high up, suspended upside down ... they make it rain.
Not our fault. You should know by now to never read Cracked while eating breakfast.
The baculovirus causes the caterpillars that it infects to liquefy. It's a disease that turns baby moths into drippy death pudding. The virus uses up just about every part of the caterpillar to reproduce, then they start making enzymes which liquefy the caterpillar. The infected puddle-formerly-known-as-caterpillar drips down on other caterpillars, infecting them, too. It would be awful to behold, if we didn't want those bastard gypsy moths dead, anyway. Mostly this disease spreads by human means, in that we friggin' spray it onto them as insecticide.
"Of course the same virus wouldn't work on humans. We'd have to modify it slightly."
That's right: We were the sinister corporate shill trying to infect Ripley all along.
2Vesparum Burrows into and Manually Steers Wasps Around Like Little Airplanes
John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images
At least the wasps seem to be locked into a firm karmic payback system. For every living being they horrifyingly hijack, something else body-jacks them. For example, when European paper wasps run into the Xenos vesparum bug, they abandon their entire society and live out the rest of their lives alone, as slaves to a malevolent entity that will use them as both home and transport vessel. Basically, think Starship Enterprise, only manned by a single crew member, living, and, of course, a wasp. This analogy got away from us a little, we admit. But in our defense, we were just a little bit terror-hypnotized by this:
Via Hurbert Polacek
Hubert Polacek, the man who took this photo, has balls the size of planets.
X. Vesparum hops on passing wasps and burrows into their abdomen. Once inside, these "taken" insects abandon their caste, their very genetic programming, and become antisocial loners. The parasite grows in size until at some pre-appointed time, all the infected wasps converge at once. How they all know where to go, what time, and exactly how X. vesparum manages to command the wasp to go there is a mystery. X-Men-like psychic powers is our best guess (our best guesses aren't usually very good). Regardless, everyone pulls up in their tricked-out, low-riding wasp ride and begin the mating process. The males hop out of their whips (which soon die because of the gaping hole in their sides) and begin mounting the ladies. The females never leave their victim-ships; they just waggle their genitals out of the hole they tore in their living vehicle's body and get to boning. Ha ha, ain't that just like a lady, fellas?*
*We exclusively know terrifying, terrifying women.
Beani et al./Animal Behaviour via Wired
This is what porn looks like in hell.
When the deed is done, the females command their zombie steeds to head out and fatten up. These possessed wasps, freshly laid and feelin' pretty, decide they should be treated like the queens they feel they are inside. Deep inside. Where the parasite lives. So they fly off to a queen site and spend the winter sleeping next to other queens. Then, come spring, they head out to deposit more mind-controlling parasite larva under leaves. Or they just dump a load of them in their home nest, if they're feeling lazy. And they probably are, since living in a constant sci-fi horror movie seems pretty exhausting.