JUN 11, 2019 04:47 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 22, 2020
Microbiology
JAN 22, 2020
As Arctic Sea Ice Declines, a Deadly Virus Spreads Among Marine Mammals
Sea ice in the Arctic melts every summer and refreezes in the winter, but the melting has been outpacing the refreezing for many years....
JAN 22, 2020
Health & Medicine
JAN 22, 2020
Rise of Cannabis Use Disorder Due to Legalization?
The topic of cannabis use disorder is growing as marijuana becomes more commonly and openly used by the general public. In the past, research has been conf...
JAN 22, 2020
Plants & Animals
JAN 22, 2020
Female Baboons Avoid Mating When STDs Are Involved
In the animal kingdom, wild creatures are quite literally hard-wired to locate suitable mates and work as quickly as possible to ensure reproductive succes...
JAN 22, 2020
Health & Medicine
JAN 22, 2020
Mandatory Warning Labels for California Cannabis Products, Unsafe for Mothers-to-be
As the first state to legalize medical marijuana, California is to date one of the largest cannabis markets in the United States. A nine-member panel of sc...
JAN 22, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
JAN 22, 2020
Psychedelics Linked to Stronger Connection to Nature
Taking psychedelic drugs, sometimes referred to as “tripping,” was recently shown to increase individuals’ “nature relatedness&rdqu...
JAN 22, 2020
Earth & The Environment
JAN 22, 2020
Why aren't we meeting our forest restoration goals?
A new paper published recently in Conservation Letters hopes to encourage more support for countries aiming to meet their ambitious forest restoration goal...
Loading Comments...