This tag is associated with 5 posts

Toxoplasma: A Common Parasite that Affects Height, Personality, and Lots More

Have you ever felt like your reaction time isn’t as good as it should be? Or, if you’re male, have you ever had people comment that you look particularly masculine? These traits might seem unrelated, but they actually can be due to the same thing — infection by a very common parasite called Toxoplasma gondii … Continue reading »

Millions of Dead Sea Stars

I hesitated writing about this story because researchers really do not seem to know at all what is causing this catastrophe, yet, but doing science is primarily about solving mysteries – it’s really part of the scientific process. What exactly is the story? As you may have heard, potentially millions of sea stars (also known … Continue reading »

Mistletoe: A Parasitic, Poisonous Plant

Have you ever wondered why it’s a tradition to hang up some mistletoe around this time of year and kiss under it? Or what about the mistletoe plant itself – where does it normally live when it’s not hanging above our doorways? While we now often associate this tradition with Christmastime, like many “Christmas traditions,” … Continue reading »

Assassins of the Bug World

When thinking of fierce little critters, poisonous spiders often come to mind. Their fear-inducing image is all over right now for the spooky Halloween season. But there’s actually a group of insects that hunts spiders – the aptly-named assassin bugs. And how they accomplish this feat is quite amusing – the assassin bugs will often … Continue reading »

Toxoplasma: A Common, Mind-Controlling Parasite

Parasites are unnerving at best, and, at worst, they’re fatal. The Toxoplasma gondii parasite has a mixture of these traits. Probably the unicellular protozoan’s most unnerving characteristic is being able to change its host’s behavior. And as if that weren’t enough – what’s also unsettling about Toxoplasma is that it’s pretty common. In fact, it’s … Continue reading »