From their hairy bodies to their rippling legs, spiders can strike terror into even the most seasoned nature lover.
Now a new video showing a giant parasitic worm bursting from the body of a huge Australian arachnid may push arachnophobias over the edge.
The disgusting spectacle was filmed by YouTube member BaskWith2 in Australia, who was shocked to see the writhing worm after spraying the spider with insecticide.
His video seems to show a giant parasitic nematode, or roundworm, erupting from the dead spider’s body in a spiral shape, before unfurling to look like a strand of wriggling wholemeal spaghetti.
It appears to be over 15 times longer than the spider’s body and around the same size as the arachnid’s abdomen.
Once the parasite is wriggling in a foamy sea of insecticide, the disgusted cameraman blasts it with more poison, as the video cuts out.
BaskWith2 writes on his YouTube page : ‘Ok so I was just editing my latest montage and this huge spider came out, so I sprayed it and killed it, then this f*****n alien worm came out of it!’
Dave Clarke, Head of Invertebrates at ZSL London Zoo told MailOnline: ‘This is a Mermithid nematode worm, a parasite of arthropods.
‘The worm would have emerged at some point soon anyway but was obviously annoyed by the spraying of the spider.
The unfortunate spider likely ate its larvae, which then feasted on its host’s body fluids, digestive glands, sexual organs and muscles to grow into a sizeable worm, ABC reported.
The spider would have become less mobile but because its vital organs were not eaten, probably remained alive, despite the parasite filling its abdomen and cephalothorax (mid-section).
Even without the insecticide, the spider would likely have met a grisly end, because the Mermithid nematode worm would have burst out of the creature’s body, killing it.
THE MERMITHID NEMOTODE WORM
A Mermithid nematode worm is a parasite of arthropods.
Mermithidae is an old family of nematode worms that live in arthropods such as crabs and spiders.
A specimen is even preserved in a 40 million-year-old piece of amber.
They are wire-like and smooth, with a tubular digestive tract with openings at each end.
Their larvae is eaten by an unfortunate arthropod and the parasite drinks its body fluids and east its digestive glands and muscles to grow.
The host becomes less mobile but stays alive because its vital organs are not eaten.
The ‘zombie’ worm may take control of its host’s nervous system to guide to towards somewhere with water, to ensure the aquatic parasite’s survival.
It bursts through its host’s body, eventually killing it.