Three of my least favorite things fused together into one horrifying globule…thanks a lot science!
Let me explain. A new kind of parasitic fungus targets carpenter ants living in Thailand’s forests, takes over their brains and central nervous systems and turns them into miniature walking dead.
Once the fungus grows inside the bug’s brain, it totally controls behavior and forces the bug’s body to become a zombified fungus food source. The ant will break away from the colony and seek out the cool and damp forest floor (ideal conditions for fungus). Quoting from ScienceDaily:
The multiplying fungal cells in the ant’s head cause fibres within the muscles that open and close the ant’s mandibles to become detached, causing “lock jaw,” which makes an infected ant unable to release the leaf, even after death.
The now-dead and completely infected ant is now perfect bait for the next unsuspecting insect to wander by and become infected by the fungus that lays in wait for its next victim.
This fungus is an evil genius. Somebody please tell me this thing can’t infect people!
- Zombie ants have fungus on the brain, new research reveals (eurekalert.org)
- Fungus turn rainforest ants into zombies (news.bioscholar.com)
- Zombie Ants Controlled by Evil Fungus (Watch) (manolith.com)
- Insect parasite horror (infocult.typepad.com)
- Daytime bites for zombie ants (sciencenews.org)