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Bodysnatchers

Fungus Turns Ants Into Zombies

A very sci-fi discovery from the Amazon: A fungus that takes over an ant's brain and then kills the insect after guiding it to a new location where it can grow and spread its spores. Originally thought to be a single species, the fungus is actually four different ones, all of which can “mind control” the zombie ants. David Hughes, an entomologist at Penn State University, discovered the fungi after noticing a wide range of fungal growths emerging from ant victims. "This potentially means thousands of zombie fungi in tropical forests across the globe await discovery," said Hughes. "We need to ramp up sampling—especially given the perilous state of the environment."

March 6, 2011 7:50 AM