The Zombie Apocalypse Is Revvin’ Up



Scientists have identified four new species of brain-controlling
fungi that turn ants into zombies that do the parasite’s bidding before
it kills them.Identified from samples collected at two sites in Brazil’s tropical
rain forest, each of the four species specializes in controlling a
different species of carpenter ant.

Once it infects an ant,
the fungus uses as-yet-unidentified chemicals to control the ant’s
behavior, Hughes told LiveScience. It directs the ant to leave its
colony (a very un-ant-like thing to do) and bite down on the underside
of a leaf — the ant’s soon-to-be resting place. Once it is killed by the
fungus, the ant remains anchored in place, thanks to its death grip on
the leaf.

Ultimately, the fungus produces a long stalk that protrudes from the
ant’s head, shooting spores out in the hopes of infecting other ants.
Two of the four newly discovered species also sprouted smaller stalks
elsewhere, including from the victim’s feet and lower leg joints – the
equivalent of knees.

Hughes is concerned that one of the four fungus species, O. camponoti-novogranadensis,
may not be around for much longer. During their visits to Brazil,
Hughes and his colleagues saw that the high-elevation site where the
species was found had become markedly drier and hotter. Hughes
attributed the change in conditions at the Parque Estadual de Itacolomi,
which is near the World Heritage Site Ouro Preto, to global warming.

This is how it begins, people. With the ants. Thanks to RenGeek81 for the tip/warning. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to spray every aerosol can I can find directly into the air. Goddamn zombie ants won’t get me without a fight.