Author Topic: Brainwashed by a parasite  (Read 3381 times)

prezhorusin04

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Brainwashed by a parasite
« on: January 16, 2008, 01:19:06 AM »

Brainwashed by a parasite:

The carpenter ant in the picture on the above (genus Campanotus), and the bullet ant in the first film clip below (Paraponera clavata), have fallen victim to parasitic fungi of the genus Cordyceps, which manipulate the behaviour of their host in order to increase their own chances of reproducing.

The spores of the fungus attach themselves to the external surface of the ant, where they germinate. They then enter the antís body through the tracheae (the tubes through which insects breathe), via holes in the exoskeleton called spiracles. Fine fungal filaments called mycelia then start to grow inside the antís body cavity, absorbing the hostís soft tissues but avoiding its vital organs.

When the fungus is ready to sporulate, the mycelia grow into the antís brain. The fungus then produces chemicals which act on the hostís brain and alter its perception of pheromones. This causes the ant to climb a plant and, upon reaching the top, to clamp its mandibles around a leaf or leaf stem, thus securing it firmly to what will be its final resting place.

The fungus then devours the antís brain, killing the host. The fruiting bodies of the fungus sprout from the antís head, through gaps in the joints of the exoskeleton. Once mature, the fruiting bodies burst, releasing clusters of capsules into the air. These in turn explode on their descent, spreading airborne spores over the surrounding area. These spores then infect other ants, completing the life cycle of the fungus. Depending on the type of fungus and the number of infecting spores, death of an infected insect takes between 4-10 days.

=CONTINUED:=
http://neurophilosophy.wordpress.com/2006/11/20/brainwashed-by-a-parasite/

ImmortalKain

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Re: Brainwashed by a parasite
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2008, 09:45:49 AM »
I do believe there is a brain worm that does something similar, but it causes the catapillar or something to go out in the open and basically beg a bird to eat it so it can grow inside the bird, be pooped out, and start over again. I'll do more research and provide a link
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Moloch

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Re: Brainwashed by a parasite
« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2008, 11:54:29 AM »
I've seen a video of it. It's a snail actually, and the rest of what you said is accurate. There's another one about a worm, a cricket, and a pool; there's also a bacterium that uses cats and their owners.

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Re: Brainwashed by a parasite
« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2008, 11:56:45 AM »
EEEeeek!!! i have tw cats!!! O_O