Kimi Lee, age 7, has always had a fascination for the creepy and crawly creatures in her mother's garden. From tiny anthills to giant, fuzzy moths, Kimi has seen (and held) it all- and probably more than once!
"Ever since she was a toddler, she would bring in so many ladybugs, and I could not get her to stop!" Mrs. Lee told TMT Gazette. "And then it was cicadas and crickets, and even spiders! Yuck! I really had to learn to live with it... but then she discovered this... thing..."
The "thing" is known as Chordodes formosanus.. a parasitic worm that infects primarily praying mantises and leads them to their demise in order to preserve itself and reproduce. The parasite was discovered accidentally by Kimi when she tried to keep a praying mantis in a jar as a pet...
"I tried to give him a bath, but then I saw a worm come out," Kimi explained coyly, " And I really liked it!"
Today, Kimi's mother is trying to come to terms with her daughter's newest obsession- the world of parasites. Kimi now spends a lot of her time in the library reading books about the different types of parasitic infections nature has to offer- unfortunately for mom, that means opening her door (and possibly her own body) to these new visitors as Kimi hunts for them in the real world.
"She can spot a parasite a mile away, " Mrs. Lee commented, "...And I think that's because it takes one to know one. It really does."