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[Y] Scientists discover 'zombie' ants in Brazil

post #1 of 61
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http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_upshot...control-fungus

Quote:
'Zombie ants' may sound like the title of an Ed Wood movie, but, according to National Geographic, they are quite real.

Oddly, there's nothing very zombie-like about the actual ants. It's only when a particular fungus takes over the ant's brain that things get weird.

Once the "stalk of the newfound fungus species Ophiocordyceps camponoti-balzani infects an ant, the ant gives up control over its own body. After the fungus is in control, it forces the ant to scamper toward "a location ideal for the fungi to grow and spread their spores." Then, it's lights out for the ant. Who knew a fungus could be so diabolical?

These wild discoveries were made by a group in Brazil headed by entomologist David Hughes. National Geographic published a series of pictures of ants that have "lost their minds" to the fungus. You can check out a sample of them below. Not for the squeamish.




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post #2 of 61
ew?

The fungi should take control over the queen ant and cause some havoc imo.
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post #3 of 61
That's pretty nifty.
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post #4 of 61
I've heard of these. I think I saw a section on them on Planet Earth.
    
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post #5 of 61
That's freaking insane... And scary too. Imagine if this fungus could take over humans.
post #6 of 61
Reminds me of that bacteria that could get inside of an ants brain and control it so it would sit on the edge of a leaf or grass and a cow or any animal would eat it, so the bacteria could get in the intestines of the animal and feed there, producing eggs, releasing them with the feces of the animal and restart the cycle with even more bacteria.
Edited by Xenthos - 3/11/11 at 2:49am
post #7 of 61
reminds me of:

post #8 of 61
I'm interested to know how exactly something as simple as a fungi can even understand directionality, much less motor skills.
    
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post #9 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xenthos View Post
Reminds me of that bacteria that could get inside of an ants brain and control it so it would sit on the edge of a leaf or grass and a cow or any animal would eat it, so the bacteria could get in the intestines of the animal and feed there, producing eggs, releasing them with the feces of the animal and restart the cycle with even more bacteria.
Dude I was just about to post this!

It isn't an ant though is it, isn't it a beetle?

I think the species is a variant of the nematode worm.

Apparently it happens at a specific time as well. I think it is 5pm. The bacteria tells the beetle to climb to the top of a blade of grass at 5pm, and the bacteria in the cow tells it to eat the grass at 5pm.

One of my buddies was reading a book on it the other week, it's every interesting actually. The very first genome mapped was a nematode worm and it is the only reason we are able to map the human genome today.
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post #10 of 61
Bow we just need a movie about rabid zombie ants mauling people.
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