Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A to Z Blog Challenge: Z is for Zombie Ants -

Picture of a "zombie" ant, part of a round-up of the best science discoveries of 2011

The next time you're visiting Brazil's lovely rain forest, keep your eyes open for the Zombie Ant. What is a Zombie Ant, you ask? It is an ant that's mind has been taken over by a fungus, called the Ophiocordyceps camponoti-balzaniThis particular spore can infect an ant, take over its brain, and then kill the insect as it staggers drunkenly to an area ideal for the fungi to grow and spread to other unsuspecting victims. 

The ants that are vulnerable to this fungi typically live in the canopies of trees, but occasionally come down to the ground where they fall victim to the deadly spores. Once the ants are infected, which is usually during the day, it takes several hours for the fungus to grow and burst out of the ant's head, typically at night, when it's nice and cool. Meanwhile, it is sucking all of the calcium out of the ant's muscles, creating a rigor mortis type of thing. 

Ants are not the only victims of this spore, they can also infect crickets, flies, bees, wasps and spiders. Experts now say that in Washington State, Zombie bees have been reported flying around at night and lurch around erratically until they ultimately die from the parasite's infection.

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** Today ends our excursion through the alphabet during the A to Z Blog Challenge. We did it! Thanks for visiting as we found all kinds of zombie subjects along the way. Thanks especially to our new visitors. Be sure to keep coming back for other zombie subjects! ** 

3 comments:

  1. Definitely the stuff of nightmares... especially that pic. Ugh!

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  2. Congratulations in completing the A to Z Challenge.

    Yvonne
    A to Z AMBASSADOR.

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  3. Yikes! Congratulations on finishing string with that one!

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