Table of contents:
Video: Horsehair Parasite: What Does The Hairy Man Look Like, Where It Lives, How Is It Dangerous For Humans Ik How To Get Rid Of The Worm
- Structure and description
- Life cycle
- Is it possible to get horse hair
- You can defeat parasites!
The parasite "horsehair" (hairy) people in ancient times considered a real horsehair, which fell into the water, came to life and tries to penetrate into the body of a bathing person through the skin, and then eats away his insides.
However, back in the 16th century, scientists expressed doubts about this, and were completely right: this aquatic parasite is safe for humans.
What to do in such a situation? To get started, we recommend reading this article. This article details the methods of dealing with parasites. We also recommend contacting a specialist. Read the article >>>
The habitat of horsehair is rivers, lakes, ponds, but it can be found in reservoirs not only with fresh, but also with salt water.
This gave rise to Karl Linnaeus to give them the name Gordius. You can see the parasite "alive" in fish freshly caught from a freshwater reservoir.
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Let's take a closer look at what a parasite looks like, what are the conditions of its habitat, what is its life cycle.
Structure and description
Horsehair belongs to the class of roundworms and is similar to nematodes: a long, thin body resembling hair (popularly called "living hair"), which, with a length of 30-40 cm, has a thickness of 2 to 5 mm (see photo).
However, horsehair has a tropical “relative” of the same class, whose body length can reach more than 2 m.
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The color of the worm varies from light to very dark, brown, almost black. The worm is covered with a very thick cuticle - a kind of protective layer. It has only longitudinal muscle fibers. Diocese worms; in females, the body is longer.
But the hole for the removal of waste and genital products - the cloaca - is available, it is located at the rear end.
This structure is associated with degeneration of the digestive system and a very short (within 3 weeks) lifespan of adults, when they consume previously accumulated nutrients.
So, we found out where this parasite lives, now we will consider its life cycle. Adults swim freely in the water.
After internal fertilization, the female lays eggs in gigantic quantities - up to a million! They are very thin, long white cords that are usually attached to aquatic plants.
Depending on how favorable the water temperature is for the development of larvae, they hatch from eggs in the interval from 15 to 80 days.
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In the water, horsehair larvae find their hosts, in which they have to penetrate and develop into an adult there.
Due to their microscopic size (from 50 to 150 microns), this is not difficult for them: the larvae can penetrate the host's cover or together with the food it swallows.
The hosts, that is, organisms in which horse hair parasitizes, are usually aquatic inhabitants: bloodworms, snails, small crustaceans, and among terrestrial insects - water beetles, ground beetles, mosquitoes, orthoptera, dead eaters, etc.
Man is not an object for larval invasion, since it is an insect parasite.
If it is not possible to find a suitable host, then the larvae are able to encyst (that is, turn into a cyst with a fairly dense shell). Such cysts stick around plants and any objects immersed in water, and for several months they can remain invasive until they get to their real host along with food.
A similar process occurs if the larva enters the organism of a host that is not suitable for it: it also encysts, waiting until this host is eaten by a predatory insect suitable for it.
And here begins its active growth and development into an adult due to parasitism in the host's body.
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When the development cycle comes to an end, the hairy parasite somehow induces its host to rush to the water, where death awaits him: the parasite pierces its integuments, and the host dies. When an adult is in the water, its life cycle starts over.
Is it possible to get horse hair
When it comes to helminths and other parasites, one usually does not have to expect good news, but horsehair is an exception: this is not ours, not a human parasite, so the questions of how to treat and how to get rid of it are irrelevant in this case.
Even if, while bathing, a person swallows several of his larvae with water, he is not a suitable host for them, so they are likely to turn into a cyst and come out with feces.
Having an idea of what kind of horsehair parasite is and what environmental conditions are most favorable for it, its presence in river or pond water can be considered as an indicator of its purity.
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However, a meeting with a hairy wolf may turn out to be less pleasant if you find it in our favorite crayfish and other crustaceans, in fish or snails. However, heat treatment, or more simply, boiling or frying, gives one hundred percent guarantee of its death.