Monday, March 14, 2011

Fungi that control ants' brains!


Dude, this is awesome:
Four new species of brain-manipulating fungi that turn ants into "zombies" have been discovered in the Brazilian rain forest.

These fungi control ant behavior with mind-altering chemicals, then kill them. They're part of a large family of fungi that create chemicals that mess with animal nervous systems.

[...]

Of the four new species, two grow long, arrow-like spores which eject like missiles from the fungus, seeking to land on a passing ant. The other fungi propel shorter spores, which change shape in mid-air to become like boomerangs and land nearby. If these fail to land on an ant, the spores sprout stalks that can snag ants walking over them. Upon infecting the new ant, the cycle starts again.

What could be cooler?

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