Bizarre snail with flashing green and orange horns baffles hiker in Taiwan

This bizarre snail with green and orange flashing horns baffled hikers when it was seen in Taiwan.

The robot-like gastropod with a neon appearance was seen crawling across a hillside Changhua County in Taiwan on August 9.

Tourist Lin Ruian said he noticed the snail because it looked like it had ''flashing lights'' turned on inside it. He was amazed by the mysterious creature and prodded it to check it was real.

Lin said: ''The snail looked like it had multicoloured neon lights inside. I don't know what was causing it but it was very strange. I poked it with a stick and it rolled over.''

Biologists said that the snail had been rendered a 'zombie', having had its motor neurons and body taken over by a parasite flatworm called the green-banded broodsac, or leucochloridium paradoxum.

The parasite invades the snail's eyestalks, where it creates a bright pattern and pulsates to imitate a caterpillar which attracts hunting birds. It also controls the snail's movement, 'instructing' it to go out in the open so birds can spot it easily.

The worm is known to create the appearance of a caterpillar so birds will eat the snail and the parasite can reproduce in the bird's intestinal tract, eventually transmitting through its faeces.