Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Apocalyptic War Between Insects and Fungi!

Have you ever seen an ant turn into a zombie? The specific parasitic fungus is called Cordyceps, this uses the body as a shell to grow in and reproduce. In this ants case the ant is not living anymore. So what makes it cool and spooky? Well, once this fungus takes over it's victims body and controls its mind it will leave this ant doomed. For this ants case, it'll take about 3 weeks for the fungus to completely develop from the exterior of the ant. Usually spores appear first and the fungus breaks through its head and the rest of its body. Usually then these types of fungus effects the insect causing the host to climb to the tops of branches or leaves so then it can be eaten and continue its cycle. Something interesting about these ants is that once another fellow ant notices that one of his buddies has gotten the terrible fungus, it carries it away from the colony so none get infected.

Ants are not the only ones to get attacked,
our friendly snails have been targeted as well. A parasitic worm called Leucochloridium takes over the snails eyes. What do these
worms do? They pulsate causing the snails to look they're at a rave! The point of the pulsating method is to mimic a maggot or caterpillar so that it'll get eaten by a predator such as a bird. Once this sneaky fungi makes his way into the bird it will reproduce in its stomach.
This is where it gets pretty gnarly and gross, the eggs are released into the birds feces and you can only guess where this goes next. New snails come along and eat that up! So what happens next? The whole process happens over and over again, wiping out many snails. The fungi inside the snail usually grows from a white tissue into some sort of tumor. Next, this fungus leaves larvae inside of the snails eye stalks, and you can fill in the rest. To be honest, i'm left feeling bad for all these insects that die out.

1 comment:

  1. This is such a cool post. Its quite scary to think that fungus can take over someones mind like that. I wonder if that fungus could potentially take a human mind over.