Zombie Ant Fungus Haunts the Tropics

Posted on June 20, 2012 by

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When people think of the news, they think of topics such as sports or the community. Generally, they don’t think of the tropical populations of carpenter ants being wiped out by a fungal infection.

The infection is caused by a fungus which releases spores that specifically targets ants. When the spores come in contact with an ant, they enter the body and eat away as much of the ant’s non-vital insides as it grows.

The growing fungus inside the ants release chemical compounds that alter the ant’s brain behavior in ways scientists still do not fully understand.

Around four to ten days after the ant dies a fungus stalk bursts from the ants head and releases the spores to infect more ants. The fungus bares the scientific name Ophiocordyceps unilateralis, otherwise known as the zombie ant fungus (for obvious reasons).

“I really think some scientists are gonna try adapt it for use on people, which is really interesting but also kinda scary,” junior Joey Roman said.

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