Beware the Zombie Ants!
From the Strange but True files…Scientists have discovered four new species of brain-controlling fungi that can turn ants into zombies that do the parasite’s bidding before it kills them. Two samples, collected in two areas in Brazil’s tropical rain forests, each specializes in controlling a different species of carpenter ant. Click the image to enlarge.
The original zombie-ant fungus, Ophiocordyceps unilateralis, was first identified by scientists in 1865, and it seems to exist across the world. Once it infects an ant, the fungus uses as-yet-unidentified chemical(s) to control the ant’s behavior.It directs the ant to leave its colony and bite down on the underside of a leaf . Once the ant is killed by the fungus, it remains anchored in place, thanks to its death grip on the leaf. Strange indeed.