JUN 11, 2019 4:47 PM PDT

This Parasitic Fungus Takes Over Insects' Minds to Multiply

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

Cordyceps is a genus of fungi that multiplies by spreading its spores just like other types of fungi do, but the interesting plot twist here is that Cordyceps’ spores are parasitic; they turn their insect host into a mindless zombie that will do all the fungi’s dirty work to help it reproduce.

After a single Cordyceps spore lands on a viable insect host, it floods the insect’s brain with chemicals that alter its typical behavior. The mind-controlled insect then searches for a bright and humid place to live the rest of its days, and soon enough, it dies as Cordyceps grows from its body and repeats the cycle of spreading more spores to control other insects.

Cordyceps’ gruesome nature has been known to knock out entire ant colonies, but it doesn’t stop at just ants. Other insects, including beetles, butterflies, and wasps, are also at risk of being infected; even various arthropods can be manipulated to do Cordyceps’ bidding.

Cordyceps can be found in forests all over the world, and there are more than 400 known species in the genus. Yikes!

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
JAN 30, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
JAN 30, 2020
New Infrared Spectroscopic Method Grants Scientists Unprecedented "Seeing" Power
Infrared spectroscopy is a popular scientific method to identify and study molecules based on their absorption of infrared light. Scientists at the Max Pla...
FEB 09, 2020
Genetics & Genomics
FEB 09, 2020
Mosquitoes are Driven to Search for Heat in the Hunt for Meals
Mosquitoes can be dangerous disease vectors, and they infect and kill hundreds of thousands of people with illnesses like dengue, malaria, and West Nile Virus....
FEB 10, 2020
Plants & Animals
FEB 10, 2020
Mudskippers Aren't Like Most Fish...
Most fish spend almost all of their lives in a body of water, be it the ocean or some smaller lake or stream. Mudskippers, on the other hand, are a unique...
FEB 13, 2020
Earth & The Environment
FEB 13, 2020
Contamination from Industrial Revolution Discovered in Himalayan Glacier
Scientific studies are revealing just how humans have impacted the environment over the past few centuries. Recently, scientists from Ohio State University...
FEB 16, 2020
Plants & Animals
FEB 16, 2020
Drone Footage Shows a Hungry Blue Whale Lunging At Krill
Blue whales are the largest living mammals on Earth, capable of growing as long as three full-length school busses. As you might come to expect, large anim...
FEB 24, 2020
Plants & Animals
FEB 24, 2020
These Pelicans Aren't After Fish
Pelicans are seabirds renowned for their unique bills, which encompass a rather discernible throat pouch that makes capturing and swallowing fish a cinch....
Loading Comments...