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    The 10 Most Awesome Parasites (That You Don't Want)

    It's time for a parasitism party! Like the VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown, only kind of more disgusting. Mira Grant, author of Parasite and the bestselling Newsflesh trilogy, presents the Top 10 Parasite Countdown! Remember, parasites are a vital part of the ecosystem, and should be treated with respect...generally from a safe distance. Some parasites have no effect on humans. Others can kill you. With AWESOME.

    10. Toxoplasma gondii: Ever wonder why you like cats so much as an adult when you hated the arrogant little murder-centric jerks when you were a kid?

    9. Cymothoa exigua: better known as the tongue-eating isopod or tongue-eating louse.

    8. Mistletoe: Chestnuts roasting on an open fire...parasitic foliage hanging from the eaves...wait, what?

    7. Trematodes: Do you enjoy belonging to a species that reproduces via sexual contact, rather than spontaneously self-impregnating with virtual clones?

    6. Dermatobia hominis: Botfly! Human botfly! It's that thing you wish you could unsee! Botfly! Human botfly! Makes you scream "what's that inside of me?!"

    5. Ascaris lumbricoides: This parasitic nematode is horrible and bad and part of why we really need things like the World Health Organization. I can find nothing good to say about this parasite.

    4. Cuculus canorus: The common cuckoo practices species-wide kleptoparasitism, or "brood parasitism," which is neat in and of itself.

    3. Sacculina carcini: Who wants parasitic barnacles? Not crabs!

    2. Tarantula hawk: If you don't like spiders, this giant stinging insect is your best friend.

    1. Tapeworms: No species name, because all tapeworms are best.