No Picnic Is Safe!: Ants Get Mind-Controlled By Killer Fungi And Turned Into Zombies
So apparently there are several species of fungi from Brazilian rain forests that can take over an ant's brain, control it, and then kill it. Now I know what you're thinking, and no, you really shouldn't sell this info to a mad scientist.
Originally thought to be a single species, called Ophiocordyceps unilateralis, the fungus is actually four distinct species--all of which can "mind control" ants--scientists announced Wednesday.
The fungus species can infect an ant, take over its brain, and then kill the insect once it moves to a location ideal for the fungi to grow and spread their spores.
Some of the fungi species create thin "infection pegs" that stick out from a victim's body and infect passing ants...
Other fungus species develop explosive spores on infected ants' bodies. When other ants come near the cadavers, the shooting spores can hit the unwitting passersby, turning them too into zombie ants.
DAMN MOTHER NATURE -- YOU'RE EVEN MORE F***ED UP THAN I THOUGHT! And that's saying a lot because I haven't forgotten about seahorses and giraffes. I mean, mind-controlling fungus? You've got to admit, that's a little over the top. Also, me on this swingset. Aaaaaaaaand I'm inside-out.
Zombie Fungus Rears Its Ugly Head [nationalgeographic]
Thanks to Zombeertroll, Shin, ExebechÃ£, Albertboltz, Jonathan and Bill, who aren't afraid of zombie ants because they always roll with magnifying glasses. BUT WHAT IF IT'S CLOUDY?!