Friday, August 14, 2009

Zombie Ants Controlled by Fungal Overlord!

Image courtesy of Wikipedia
Huh? This story is too weird for me to even attempt to summarize, so I'll just go straight to the MSNBC highlight:
In a bizarre parasitic death sentence, a fungus turns carpenter ants into the walking dead and gets them to die in a spot that's perfect for the fungus to grow and reproduce.
Once infected by the fungus, an ant is compelled to climb down from the canopy to the low leaves, where it clamps down with its mandibles just before it dies.

"The fungus accurately manipulates the infected ants into dying where the parasite prefers to be, by making the ants travel a long way during the last hours of their lives," said study leader David P. Hughes of Harvard University.

Yeah, just plain weird, right? Anyway, to learn more about the evil fungus and it's insectoid automatons, read on...

Now if only we could get the fungus to get rid of these bugs, I'd feel safer!

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