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Fungus Attacks Zombie-Ant Fungus


Photo: David Hughes/Penn State University

In 2011, scientists discovered a species of fungus that turns ants into zombies. Aptly called the zombie-ant fungus (Ophiocordyceps unilateralis s.l.), the organism invades an ant's brain and causes it to march to its death at a mass grave near the ant colony. There, fungus spores erupt out of the ant's head to infect more ants.

As if that's not weird enough, David Hughes of Penn State University has discovered that some ant colonies survive this zombie infestation ... with a little help from another predator: another species of fungus that attacks the zombie-ant fungus!

"In a case where biology is stranger than fiction, the parasite of the zombie-ant fungus is itself a fungus -- a hyperparasitic fungus that specializes in attacking the parasite that turns the ants into zombies," Hughes said.

"The hyperparasitic fungus effectively castrates the zombie-ant fungus so it cannot spread its spores," said Hughes, who is an assistant professor of entomology and biology, and a member of the Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics at Penn State. "Because the hyperparasitic fungi prevents the infected zombie-ant fungus from spreading spores, fewer of the ants will become zombies."

Link - via The Two-Way


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Yeah you need to fact check before making a statement like that. This has been documented for ages. There are many variations on this fungus that attacks specific types of ants and some other insects as well.
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It was definitely discovered before 2011. I would know, I have a tattoo of the cordyceps fungus growing out of a beetle larvae on my chest and I definitely got that before 2011.
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