Zombie Fungus that Mind Controls Insects

Did you recently come across a National Geographic documentation where you couldn’t believe your eyes? I was shocked when I saw the images of a parasite fungus being able to control other insects. Welcome to the Zombie Fungus that Mind Controls Insects.

Ophiocordyceps unilateralis

Its name is Ophiocordyceps unilateralis, or “Zombie-Ant Fungus”. Look below and explore how the Fungus can control Insects against their will.

Zombie-Ant Fungus

The specific fungus primarily resides in tropical forest ecosystems. It has been discovered in various locations worldwide, including Asia, Arica, and Central and South America.

How can it control the ant?

There are 4 steps to this. Lets explore them!

#1 Spores

Spores of the fungus infect an ant, usually a species from the Camponotini tribe, by landing on its body and using enzymes to break down the ant’s exoskeleton, allowing the fungus to infiltrate the host.

#2 Consumption

Once inside the ant, the fungus begins to consume non-vital soft tissues and affects the ant’s behavior by releasing chemicals that interfere with the ant’s central nervous system.

#3 Infection

The infected ant then leaves its colony and climbs up vegetation, driven by the fungus to find a location with the ideal temperature and humidity for the fungus to grow. The ant clamps onto a leaf vein or twig with its mandibles in a “death grip”.

#4 Death

After the ant’s death, the fungus continues to grow inside it. It eventually ruptures out of the ant’s head and releases its spores, which can infect other ants and continue the cycle.

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