Today's slice of animal kingdom Gothic mindbending horror comes from a new study about ants. Ants, and the parasitic, mind-controlling, zombie-making terror-fungus who owns them.
Any article with phrases like "ant zombie graveyard" is promising to the steely gaze of Infocult. And every bit of the story is drenched with monstrosity and dread:
"Synchronized arrival of zombie ants at the graveyards is a remarkable phenomenon.
[A]lthough 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"
While holding its death grip, the ant's head was filled with fungal cells and the muscles that operated the ant's mandible, or jaw, was atrophied, they found."In the context of biting, it allows the mandibles, we feel, to work in one direction and one direction only,"
You think it's only ants?
"We are quite confident we could see this and similar phenomenon across a broad range of organisms, because it is such a neat evolutionary trick if you are fungus to use the muscles of an animal to transport you to another environment," he wrote. (Many fungi rely on wind or other means to passively disperse their spores.)
Think of it: mutated, airborne, mind-controlling fungi. Will you know when it starts controlling your motions? How will it feel to have its cells replace yours, and your bones' calcium drained dry?
Sleep tight, readers. Don't let the fungus bite.
(thanks Jesse Walker)