May 13, 2011

'Zombie' Ants Bite at High Noon, Then Die

Ker Than, National Geographic

AP Photo

A parasitic fungus is turning ants in Thailand into "zombies," and now scientists have a better idea how and when the infection does its gruesome work.

The fungus, a species of Ophiocordyceps, targets carpenter ants living high in Thailand's rain forest canopy. The parasite hijacks the ants' nervous systems, causing the insects to perform abnormal—and oddly specific—behaviors that help the fungus reproduce.

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TAGGED: Fungal Infection, Fungus, Ants, Zombies


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