The footage shows what appears to be just a spider–but take a closer took.
The thing that’s attached to the spider appears to be a nematomorpha worm, a type of parasitic animal known as horsehair worms or Gordian worms. The range in size between 50 to 100 millimeters, and in some cases, they can get up to 2 meters in length.
“They are found in water or wet areas, such as in or alongside streams or puddles but they can occur in cisterns, livestock watering troughs or most open outdoor container with water. These harmless, curious creatures writhe slowly, contorting their hair-like bodies into intricate knots,” says the University of Kentucky’s entomology department.
“Horsehair worms develop as parasites in the bodies of grasshoppers, crickets, cockroaches, and some beetles. When mature, they leave the host to lay eggs. They are not parasites of humans, livestock, or pets and pose no public health threat.”
There are some 350 species of nematomorpha known.
When the worms take control of a host, they essentially mind-control them for several months before making them dive into the water and then escape through the insect’s exoskeleton.
“If you take a cricket that actually has a worm in it,” one researcher told Wired, “and put it next to the water, it will always, in every case, jump immediately in.”