Tech & Science This nightmare fungus turns ants into zombies and controls their every movement

03:38  15 november  2017
03:38  15 november  2017 Source:   Techly

Trainer pepper sprayed by police

  Trainer pepper sprayed by police Trainer Saab Hasan has claimed traffic police pepper sprayed him on his way back to Flemington Stables on Melbourne Cup day. Hasan told SEN Radio that he was on his way back from Wangaratta Racecourse, and was halted by police at the Smithfield entrance into Flemington.He then claimed he exited his car to lead his horse to the stable, when the police officer pepper sprayed him."He [the police officer] said 'either move your car on or I'll arrest you.'""I said that 'if you don't let me into the course, I have no option other than to unload my horse in the street which is dangerous.

Scientists say that a fungus in some parts of the world invades the bodies of ants and takes control of their behavior, turning the ants into zombies .

A new type of parasitic fungus takes control of ant by burrowing in their brains. - Four new species of fungi that turn ants into zombies have been discovered in the Amazon. - Ants become infected when they come into contact with spores released by the fungus .

Ants.© Getty Ants.

Their brains aren’t the problem.

Those poor old ants that become zombies thanks to fungus are back in the news again.

According to a new study published this month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, it’s the ants’ muscles rather than their brains that are infected.

The zombie ant fungus, which scientists call Ophiocordyceps unilateralis, was discovered way back in 1859 and hit the mainstream when it was featured in an episode of 2006’s Planet Earth.

The fungus infects the ant, then takes control of its body and forces it to bite into leaf and stay there until it dies. It’s forced vegetation by fungus resulting in death.

Ricciardo holds "a few cards" in Red Bull contract talks

  Ricciardo holds Daniel Ricciardo says he holds "a few cards" for his negotiations with Red Bull regarding a Formula 1 contract extension beyond 2018. His teammate Max Verstappen recently extended his contract to the end of 2020, with Red Bull making it clear its priority is to now lock down Ricciardo.The Australian wants to wait until next season to make the call so he can assess Red Bull's performance and feels he is in a strong bargaining position.This will be the first time Ricciardo will be free to negotiate a new contract, rather than Red Bull getting the final say, since he joined the outfit's junior program.

Search for: Fungal Disease. Mind- controlling fungus turns insects into zombies . How can a microbe turn these normal insects into fungus -erupting zombies ? (Figure 2 from Shrestha et al). What we do know is that when ants are infected their behavior changes.

For the most part, tropical carpenter ants spend most of their time high in the forest canopy away from the ground. Every once in a while they do venture Once the fungus finds this leaf it waits for the sun to shine at its highest intensity of the day, it is then that the fungus forces the ant into “the death grip.”

The fungus then continues to grow, eventually piercing the ant’s head’s head and shooting spores into the air to infect other ants. Nature is so damn metal sometimes.

Using 3D images, AI and machine-learning algorithms, the researchers looked at cell-level interactions between the fungal parasite and the ant host and found that fungus cells surrounded the ant’s muscle fibres but did infect the brain.

Optus gets Perth Stadium naming rights

  Optus gets Perth Stadium naming rights Optus Stadium is the name of Perth's new 60,000-seat sports venue located on the banks of the Swan River with a 10-year naming rights deal.Perth's new 60,000-seat sports venue will be called Optus Stadium, after a 10-year naming rights deal was struck with the telecommunications giant.

This fame might make it seem there is just one fungus that can create such a nightmare . But in fact there are many species of them, and zombifying ants is not their only speciality. New parasitic fungi found that turn ants into zombies .

That's when you realize you are not in control of your body. The leaf crunches in your mouth. You try to pull away, but can’t. These researchers learn about how and when the fungus spreads, and how ants might avoid turning into zombies .

“Normally in animals, behaviour is controlled by the brain sending signals to the muscles, but our results suggest that the parasite is controlling host behaviour peripherally,” said senior author of the study David Hughes. “Almost like a puppeteer pulls the strings to make a marionette move, the fungus controls the ant’s muscles to manipulate the host’s legs and mandibles.”

Hughes and his colleagues believe that the fungus might preserve the ant’s brain so that it can survive long enough to perform its final biting act. You just have to admire the evil brilliance of that.

Gamers might notice the term “Ophiocordyceps” as being a little familiar.

In the 2013 game The Last of Us, the fungal infection that almost wipes out humanity is called “cordyceps” and functions in a very similar way. This is no coincidence and in an interview, the game’s creators even said that the zombie ants were an important inspiration. Yeah science!

Cordyceps is super bad news for ants but good news for us, because The Last of Us Part 2 is officially on the way.

The teaser trailer was revealed at last year’s PlayStation Experience and a brutal snippet of the game was recently released at Paris Games Week.

Homeowners Shocked as Unexpected Visitor Turns Up on Their Porch — an Alligator .
They believed the alligator somehow made its way from a swampy area near the family’s home and to their shaded porch.The Cape Coral Police Department responded to a local residence last week after the homeowner reported what they called a “suspicious package” on their doorstep.

—   Share news in the SOC. Networks

Topical videos:

This is interesting!