Dead Love: Zombie Ants!

Forget about the conqueror worm, here’s a death trap of the zombie kind.

Imagine the fungus Ophiocordyceps unilateralis as the bokor and the poor little carpenter ant as the zombie. Yes, it’s a horror that has been going on for 48 million years according to The Guardian science correspondent Ian Sample.

Apparently this clever parasitic fungus not only infects and feeds on the ant, but manages to control its brain and behavior, driving the bedeviled creature to leave its colony, wander about, and eventually bite violently into the center vein of certain leaves where it locks into position in its final death grip as the fungus sprouts from its head and releases a pod of more poisonous spores into the forest environment!

Horrors!

And … this can infect huge groups of ants at once, so that the carnage is vast. Sound familiar?

Just thought I’d bring you all this zombie science moment. Lovely little picture of an unfortunate ant sprouting a spore pod in the referenced article. Just follow the link.

—Erin Orison, DEAD LOVE/the Daily Slice

  • boldlow

    Fascinating and horrifying – both at the same time! Stranger than fiction. Go zombies!

  • leanne

    Yesterday one of those wandering ants bit me on the arm! I was sitting in my garden and ….ouch!…little sucker got me. Watch out!

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