Shopping Cart
Your Cart is Empty
Quantity:
Subtotal
Taxes
Shipping
Total
There was an error with PayPalClick here to try again
CelebrateThank you for your business!You should be receiving an order confirmation from Paypal shortly.Exit Shopping Cart

Dr. Pierre Mariotte

Toward sustainable agrosystems and preserved ecosystems

Blog

Blog

Some fungi make zombies

Posted on March 30, 2015 at 7:25 PM

 

You need Adobe Flash Player to view this content.

 

(Presented by Cat Adams / BBC Campus)

While some fungi produce their own wind, other fungi produce the stuff of nightmares.


In tropical forests around the world, species of the fungal genus Ophiocordyceps infect carpenter ants, landing on the ant and then burrowing into its brain.


But this is no simple brain-siege. In Thailand, for example, Ophiocordyceps unilateralis first causes the ant to walk erratically, eventually plummeting from its normal home in the canopy to the forest floor below. The fungus then directs the ant to traverse up trees a precise number of centimetres, just less than a metre above the ground, where the temperature and humidity are ideal for fungi to thrive.


The fungus can control not only the height the ant travels to, but also the direction the ant faces, which is usually north-northwest. An uninfected ant would normally not bite a leaf, but infected ants do, clamping down on the underside of a leaf, almost always in the very middle of the leaf, where it is strongest. Like something from an science fiction story, the zombie ant bites down at precisely solar noon.


The ant then dies in this unusual position, stiff with postmortem lockjaw due to muscle atrophy from the fungi rapidly growing in its head. For up to two weeks, the ant corpse remains locked to the leaf while the fungus reproduces, eventually raining spores on unsuspecting healthy ants walking below, carrying food to their nests in the canopy.


And the zombification cycle repeats.


The zombie ant fungus Ophiocordyceps has perfected zombification to a science that has inspired both movies and video games, and was recently the topic of a science crowdfunding campaign to determine which genes are important for the fungus to control its host.


Everybody loves a good zombie story, perhaps the zombie-makers most of all.

 


Categories: Incredible Nature

Post a Comment

Oops!

Oops, you forgot something.

Oops!

The words you entered did not match the given text. Please try again.

Already a member? Sign In

132 Comments

Reply ascereutt
8:13 PM on August 27, 2021 
http://buystromectolon.com/ - ivermectin for goats
Reply order propecia online
3:24 PM on August 29, 2021 
generic cialis online
Reply draigneda
12:37 AM on August 30, 2021 
cialis price
Reply Embatiz
3:21 AM on August 31, 2021 
Stromectol
Reply unsuppy
4:39 AM on September 6, 2021 
https://buytadalafshop.com/ - cheap cialis from india
Reply veililm
2:14 AM on September 9, 2021 
finasteride hair
Reply buying generic cialis online safe
4:01 AM on September 9, 2021 
Discount Direct Macrobid From Canada In Internet
Reply jearierma
6:29 PM on September 9, 2021 
http://buypropeciaon.com/ - propecia alternative
Reply Stromectol
11:56 PM on September 10, 2021 
Zithromax Alcohol
Reply steella
4:02 AM on September 15, 2021 
https://buypriligyhop.com/ - buy priligy australia
Reply azithromycin moa
3:12 PM on September 16, 2021 
Peor Hora Para Tomar Propecia
Reply Zoxolivor
9:44 PM on September 16, 2021 
plaquenil and corona
Reply Oxiseelve
8:13 PM on September 17, 2021 
Lasix
Reply Lasix
9:36 AM on September 18, 2021 
Free Viagra Samples In Canada
Reply derytycle
10:51 AM on September 18, 2021 
Priligy
Reply edulLey
3:41 AM on September 20, 2021 
http://buyplaquenilcv.com/ - hydroxychloroquine 200 mg price
Reply bophoorry
12:47 PM on September 21, 2021 
Reply plaquenil dose
10:40 PM on September 22, 2021 
Lioresal Intrathecal
Reply impotiate
4:54 PM on September 23, 2021 
Zithromax
Reply priligy without prescription
1:38 AM on September 24, 2021 
Best Prices For Cialis