They are also known as Gordian worms after the problematic Gordian knot. Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on July 08, 2018: Thanks for the visit and the comment, Bede. There have only been a handful of diagnosed human cases, and most are in Asia. This may kill the host, but it sometimes survives. severe discomfort ranging from anal itching.
Answer: You need to see a doctor. As the quote above says, they don't cause infections in humans—that is, they don't stay in the body and cause disease. Hookworms enter through the skin, usually the feet, and move through the veins to the heart and lungs. [5], The adults are mostly free-living in freshwater or marine environments, and males and females aggregate into tight balls (Gordian knots) during mating. Then the animal will almost cannonball into the water source, prompted by the parasites that have infected its brain. The parasites don't stay in the intestine of the host. In humans, the animals pass through the digestive tract and don't migrate into the body. These long thread-like worms resemble the hair of a horse tail, and are mostly found in cabbage plants, swimming pools, bird baths, pet dishes, garden soil, unhygienic toilets, and essentially in body cavities of various insects like cockroach, grasshopper, crickets, millipedes, beetles, snails, …

If you have infected children in your household, be sure to wash their clothes and bedding daily to prevent others in your house from getting infected. Nematomorpha (sometimes called Gordiacea, and commonly known as horsehair worms or Gordian worms) are a phylum of parasitoid animals superficially similar to nematode worms in morphology, hence the name. Studying the physiology of other animals—even much simpler ones than us—can sometimes help scientists improve their knowledge of human biology. Horsehair worms occasionally enter the human body when water or food contaminated by the animals is swallowed. Several cases involving Parachordodes, Paragordius, or Gordius have been recorded in human hosts in Japan and China. I find the huge variety of life on Earth very interesting.
The approximately 320 remaining species are distributed between two families,[18] comprising seven genera,[19] within order Gordioida.

The adult is thought to absorb the nutrients that it needs through its body surface. Hi, Mary. Perhaps because they don't have a major effect on our lives, they are not as well studied as might be expected. Unlike nematomorphs, mermithids do not have a terminal cloaca. Horsehair worms have a complicated and unsettling life cycle that plays out like a rejected movie script from the Alien franchise.

This is not only because they are interesting. [14] The earliest Nematomorph could be Maotianshania, from the Lower Cambrian; this organism is, however, very different from extant species;[15] fossilized worms resembling the modern forms have been reported from Early Cretaceous Burmese amber dated to 100–110 million years.[16]. Nematodes are the most numerous multi-cellular animals on Earth, according to the University of Nebraska 3. Thanks for sharing, as always! Horsehair worms exist as males or females, The adults overwinter in water. Horsehair worms are typically dark brown in color, but some are tan, yellow or black. A doctor should be consulted for a diagnosis and treatment recommendations if intestinal worms are observed or if symptoms of ill health appear. Horsehair worms don't infect humans. The survival rate of hosts often depends on whether they can swim or not: After dispensing their worms they're left on their own. Specific nematodes are sometimes misidentified as horsehair worms, and vice versa. They often appear to tie their body into knots as they squirm.

Insects are the most common host, especially crickets, grasshoppers, and cockroaches. Since they are usually contorted into “knots”, the name Gordian worm was used by some. Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on July 09, 2018: Thank you very much for the visit and the comment, Gerry. Roundworms can affect anyone regardless of economic or social status. Some species choose hosts that are likely to become food for even larger insects, allowing them to infect the largest possible host. Worms that look like human hair are nematodes. One study conducted in a Japanese riparian ecosystem showed that nematomorphs can cause orthopterans to become 20 times more likely to enter water than non-infected orthopterans; these orthopterans constituted up to 60% of the annual energy intake for the Kirikuchi char.

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