Sci/Tech Parasite causes zombie ants to die in an ideal spot

The Helper

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Staff member
A study in the September issue of The American Naturalist describes new details about a fungal parasite that coerces ants into dying in just the right spot -- one that is ideal for the fungus to grow and reproduce. The study, led David P. Hughes of Harvard University, shows just how precisely the fungus manipulates the behavior of its hapless hosts.

When a carpenter ant is infected by a fungus known as Ophiocordyceps unilateralis, the victim remains alive for a short time. The fungus, however, is firmly in the driver's seat. It compels the ant to climb from its nest high in the forest canopy down into small plants and saplings in the understory vegetation. The ant then climbs out onto the underside of a low-hanging leaf where it clamps down with its mandibles just before it dies. There it remains, stuck fast for weeks.

After the ant dies, the fungus continues to grow inside the body. After a few days, a stroma—the fungus's fruiting body—sprouts from the back of the ant's head. After a week or two, the stroma starts raining down spores to the forest floor below. Each spore has the potential to infect another unfortunate passerby.

Read the whole article here.

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Real interesting article summarizing the things known about this and some recent studies....
 

T.s.e

Wish I was old and a little sentimental
Ah, these fungi. No brain, but still so fucking intelligent.
 

Jedimindtrixxx

┻━┻ ︵ ¯\(ツ)/¯ ︵ ┻━┻
they had a scene about this in Planet Earth: Jungles, the BBC documentary series. it said that if an ant finds an infected ant theyd take the infected ant far away. they also said that there are a lot of these fungi, each specialized for a different host (ants, spiders, etc)
 

asipo

New Member
I think I heard this kind of fungus
It only can happen on insect btw

So not nesesary ant and for ant it can cause the whole colony to dead
So there will be 1 worker and that sacrifies himself to bring the dead infected far from their colony
 

LurkerAspect

Now officially a Super Lurker
:( that's horrible.

Can you imagine a parasite eating your brain, then telling you to die in a sewer so that it can grow into a huge mushroom?

I'm going to have nightmares about this one...

Although, it might be a fun idea to put in my map... :D
 

cleeezzz

The Undead Ranger.
lol reminds me of that flash game where you play as the virus and your goal is to wipe out the world. i wonder how fun it would be to play as a fungi in wc3 O_O, it would look nice with some nice forest-y terrain + insects running around. goal is to spread and wipe out life in the forest o_O (except yourself of course)
 

tom_mai78101

The Helper Connoisseur / Ex-MineCraft Host
Staff member
lol reminds me of that flash game where you play as the virus and your goal is to wipe out the world. i wonder how fun it would be to play as a fungi in wc3 O_O, it would look nice with some nice forest-y terrain + insects running around. goal is to spread and wipe out life in the forest o_O (except yourself of course)
I heard StarEdit 2 might make that possible.
 

T.s.e

Wish I was old and a little sentimental
Can you imagine a parasite eating your brain, then telling you to die in a sewer so that it can grow into a huge mushroom?
Won't happen. These fungi have already discovered a great way to keep the species alive, they won't need to infect anything else to survive.
 
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