Thursday, May 3, 2012

Real Zombie Insects

NPR has provided the kind of hard hitting and important coverage that you don't see in other media outlets--zombie ants! Here's an excerpt from their online article:
In the current edition of the journal PLoS ONE, an international research team led by David Hughes of Penn State University reports that they've found the fungus that allows an ant colony to survive infestations by a "zombie-ant fungus, which invades an ant's brain and causes it to march to its death at a mass grave near the ant colony, where the fungus spores erupt out of the ant's head."
"In a case where biology is stranger than fiction, the parasite of the zombie-ant fungus is itself a fungus — a hyperparasitic fungus that specializes in attacking the parasite that turns the ants into zombies," Hughes said...
Read the whole story here.

It reminds me of the bee zombie stories from a couple of months ago, like this one from Scientific American. I've always regretted not blogging about that because I could have used the title: The Bee in Zombie. You've been spared until now.

Anyone want to take bets on the next insect to be zombified? These guys don't count.

h/t to Frank Weathers of yimcatholic for pointing out the ant story.

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