November 19, 2012
Fungus That Controls Zombie Ants has Own Fungal Stalker

"While the manipulated individual may look like an ant, it represents a fungal genome expressing fungal behavior through the body of an ant." 

Yeah. There are many benefits to being human. Off the top of my head, I can think of one in particular: we don’t live with the threat of mind-controlling mushrooms sprouting from our skullcaps after they’ve driven us to our doom. But ants? They’re probably losing sleep.
Ophiocordyceps is a fungus. A fungus with such an insidious M.O. that, even on an insect level, it’s fundamentally creepy. When the spore finds its way to its preferred species of carpenter ant, it parasitizes the insect, gets into its head (literally), and proceeds to turn the beleaguered bug into a zombie.
The ant stumbles to and fro, convulses and collapses, finally being compelled by the brain ‘shroom to clamp its jaws to a leaf and perish. A short time later, the fungus sprouts from the ant’s head, releases spores, and starts the process all over again. But the weirdness is only aggravated by the fact that scientists have found something else in the mix—another fungus, one that will happily parasitize the parasite. It’s a neat read if you’re into the idea of The Walking Dead becoming a reality on some base level. —MN

Fungus That Controls Zombie Ants has Own Fungal Stalker

"While the manipulated individual may look like an ant, it represents a fungal genome expressing fungal behavior through the body of an ant." 

Yeah. There are many benefits to being human. Off the top of my head, I can think of one in particular: we don’t live with the threat of mind-controlling mushrooms sprouting from our skullcaps after they’ve driven us to our doom. But ants? They’re probably losing sleep.

Ophiocordyceps is a fungus. A fungus with such an insidious M.O. that, even on an insect level, it’s fundamentally creepy. When the spore finds its way to its preferred species of carpenter ant, it parasitizes the insect, gets into its head (literally), and proceeds to turn the beleaguered bug into a zombie.

The ant stumbles to and fro, convulses and collapses, finally being compelled by the brain ‘shroom to clamp its jaws to a leaf and perish. A short time later, the fungus sprouts from the ant’s head, releases spores, and starts the process all over again. But the weirdness is only aggravated by the fact that scientists have found something else in the mix—another fungus, one that will happily parasitize the parasite. It’s a neat read if you’re into the idea of The Walking Dead becoming a reality on some base level. —MN

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    Honestly, what are the odds the someone, somewhere, is NOT trying to weaponize this RIGHT NOW?
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