Fungi of the genus Cordyceps – those that turns insects into zombies

In the modern concept of "zombies" — a "living corpse", who wakes up in the night and goes to look for his victim. But ascomycetous mushroom acts differently – he "paralyzes" the consciousness of an insect and how to be in command of them, and the "subject" of the insect is the only stage of the life of the fungus.

Ascomycetous fungus, or Cordyceps is a special genus of fungi that is able to parasitize insects. Most common victims of this plants are ants. The dispute falls on the victim's body, then takes root and grows just in the body of the unfortunate ant. At the same time, all the roots secrete alkaloid substances that "numb" the whole process and saturate the body of the insect. As soon as the roots reach the head, in the brain, which before was affected by the alkaloids, they are in large numbers.

After that, the victim is completely ready to fulfill every whim of the owner. The main objective of the Cordyceps is the reproduction. Therefore, the subordinate ant away from his family forever – he is looking for the perfect place for breeding master.

And once a place is found, the ant dies and the fungus, using resources of a dead victim prepares for reproduction: it produces a box with the spores directly from the head of the insect. When disputes reach the desired state, the capsule bursts and the spores are poured.

It is worth noting that all the victims always die at a sufficient height, thus they create the conditions for contagion of the greatest number of insects that live below.

Once the box is cracked and disputes crumbled all over again: the infected insects "forget" about ourselves and live for the benefit Ascomycota.

Victims of this "puppeteer" can be not only ants, but flies, caterpillars and even butterflies.

Interesting fact: the genus Cordyceps includes about 400 species, and the geographical spread of those species which are parasitic on insects restricted to China, Tibet, some parts of Japan, less common in other Eastern countries.



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