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Showing posts with the label toxoplasma gondii

Mind controlling parasites

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Nature is filled with some of the most fascinating and bizarre things. From mind controlling parasites to zombie-d animals and insects, one close look at nature and it feels like something out of sci-fi.


Image courtesy http://www.missfidget.com/?p=6650
Cordyceps
The Cordyceps fungus is probably nature’s way of keeping a check on the populations of insects. There are thousands of different types of Cordeceps fungi, with each being very specific to a particular insect species. The Ophiocordyceps unilateralis, for example, infects ants in particular. When into the ant’s system, it alters the behaviour of the ant to ensure it spreads its spores in the environment. Ants that are infected, referred to as zombie ants, wonder alone and perch themselves on branches, or leaves ensuring the viability of the fungus. Experts have witnessed that the ants generally chose a spot that is high in humidity, and have temperatures between 20-30 degrees making sure that the fungus survives. One can generall…