Thursday, May 3, 2012

Zombie ants

still from "Shaun of the Dead"
taken from Neatorama
This gives me the creeps: today I read that there is a fungus that can turn ants into 'zombie ants'The idea just makes me sick, I guess I have been watching too many movies.

Is this some kind of joke? Did I miss a general meeting that agreed on redefining the date for April Fools Day? Has The Onion taken over Science News, Scientific American and Pennsylvania State University?

But still: 
A tropical fungus has adapted to infect ants and force them to chomp, with surprising specificity, into perfectly located leaves before killing them and taking over their bodies. 
--Scientific American

Now there appears to be another fungus that is the exact natural enemy of the 'zombie fungus' and ants even look for that healthy organism to heal themselves.

Donald Sutherland in
(still taken from Coppa)

  • Fungus Makes Zombie Ants Do All the Work (Scientific American, 2009) 
  • Daytime bites for zombie ants (ScienceNews, 2011)
  • Ophiocordyceps unilateralis (Wikipedia)
  • Zombie science roundup (Byte Size Biology, 2011)
  • Zombie ants have fungus on the brain (PSU, 2011)
  • The Zombie-Ant Fungus Is Under Attack, Research Reveals (PSU, 2012)
  • 'Zombie' Ants And The Fungus That Saves Them (NPR, 2012)

More creepy stuff:
  • Parasitic robots: clock needs to catch and digest flies to keep itself in motion

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