Zombie Ants Controlled by Fungi

Filed in Gather News Channel by on March 3, 2011 0 Comments

Zombie ants are controlled by fungi that end up controlling the antsÂ’ actions until they are finally killed by the parasite. There are four new species of the bizarre brain-controlling fungi that scientists have discovered in BrazilÂ’s tropical rainforest.

The first zombie ant fungus was discovered in 1865, but recently four new species were found that control different species of carpenter ants. Scientists believe they will eventually find hundreds of species of the mind-controlling fungi.

An ant is done for, once the fungus infects it. The parasite uses chemicals that have not yet been identified, to control the antÂ’s behavior. These mind-controlled ants will actually leave their colonies, and they bite on a leafÂ’s underside. Eventually, the leaf becomes the antÂ’s final resting place.

As the fungus takes over, it produces a long stalk that shoots out of the antÂ’s head. The goal is to infect additional ants. It is bizarre that these fungi are able to turn the ants into zombies. How many more types of mind-controlling fungi will be discovered? Are there other insects or animals that can be controlled with fungi?

Zombie Ants Controlled by Fungi

© Copyright: News Today Online by Kate James at Gather.com

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