The High-Noon Graveyard of the Fungi-infected Zombie-Ants

Ich freue mich ja immer sehr, etwas neues von meinen alten Freunden zu hören: Den pilzgesteuerten Zombie-Ameisen. Neue Erkenntnisse zeigen jetzt: Die beissen immer gegen 12 Uhr mittags – High Noon! – wortwörtlich ins Gras, sterben aber erst zum Sonnenuntergung, was dem Pilz genug Zeit gibt, um noch ein bisschen an Ameisenbrainz zu knabbern. Und sie bilden, fast wie Elefanten auch, Friedhöfe für Zombie-Ameisen, was wahrscheinlich darauf zurückzuführen ist, dass die Pilze bestimmte Lieblingsplätze haben, von denen aus sie sich am besten ausbreiten können. Zombie-Ameisen und ihre Friedhöfe, High-Noon und Sunset-Dyingtime. Die Story wird immer und immer besser.

Research in a Thai rain forest has shown the fungi, a species of Ophiocordyceps, forces an infected ant to wander drunkenly over the forest's low leaves before clamping its jaws around the main vein on the underside of a leaf in an ant zombie graveyard.

By watching 16 infected ants bite down, the researchers found that their last bites took place around noon, indicating they are synchronized to either the sun or a related cue, like temperature or humidity.

"Synchronized arrival of zombie ants at the graveyards is a remarkable phenomenon. It adds a layer of complexity on what is already an impressive feat," wrote David Hughes, a study researcher from Pennsylvania State University, in an email to LiveScience. "However, although ants bite at noon they don't in fact die until sunset. Likely this strategy ensures (the fungus) has a long cool night ahead of it during which time it can literally burst out of the ant's head to begin the growth of the spore-releasing stalk"

How Zombie Ants Lose Their Minds: Zombie Ants Bite at High Noon, Die at Sunset (via io9)

Vorher auf Nerdcore:
48 Millionen Jahre alter Parasitenpilz eating Zombie-Ants found near my Hometown. No, really!
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