Everybody knows about fictitious zombies from the movie industry but there are real-life zombies prowling everywhere in the animal kingdom and some of them are far more horrific than anything film producers could ever imagine. No worries, we are talking about the fungus that controls ants and other pests.
Let’s just say one is a regular old ant, out doing whatever it is he does. He mistakenly inhales a tiny spore, hardly notices it, and goes about his antly activities. What he doesn’t know is that it is already too late for him. That spore will grow into a fungus that will take over his mind. Now he is just a host and the parasite that controls him wants him dead. That is how the fungus that controls ants works.
The fungus quite accurately spreads into the ant’s brain and handles it in very specific manners. The ant will soon start to wander around purposelessly, and sooner or later it’ll fall from the tree canopy where its fellow ants are working. The zombified ant will discover a low-hanging leaf, climb to its base, latch its jaws tight to that leaf, and shortly die. The ant never wanted to do any of this, the fungus that controls ants made it. Soon after the ant is dead the fungus will shoot a stalk right out of its poor deadhead.
We’ll still come back to ants in the course of this discussion. It seems Mother Nature hates the tiny guys.
All the poor grasshopper wanted was a nice refreshing drink of water. What it got instead was unconscious suicide. You drank up a baby hairworm which then grew inside of it. It grew so big that only its head and legs weren’t filled with it. By the time it has gotten to the maturity stage it is required to mate. But hairworms only mate in water. How was the hairworm going to get to that water? The sly hairworm has a plan. It’ll hijack the grasshopper’s central nervous system and force it to commit suicide by drowning itself.
And that’s what occurs. Grasshoppers will jump into pools of water and on the dot die, letting the hairworms within them a chance to escape and reproduce.
This poor and never stood a chance. A type of wasp utilizes a spider in a very menacing manner. It will paralyze the ant, lay an egg on its stomach, and then just fly on out of there. The spider wakes up from its paralysis, waves it off, and goes about its activities. But right before the wasp larva is set to pupate, it starts to control the spider by introducing a chemical into its bloodstream. This causes the spider to begin weaving odd-shaped webs that it usually wouldn’t weave. When it’s completed it moves to the center of the web and pauses. The larvae then shed, slay, and suck the spider dry, get rid of the body, and quickly establish a cocoon that hangs from the newly secure web. It then develops from the cocoon as a wasp, set to lay eggs of its own. That is another fungus that controls ants including the spider.
Zombie Ant (Again):
More about the poor ants and the fungus that controls ants. This time around it’s not a fungus that does it, but rather, a fluke worm. This fluke begins life in cow compost. A snail consumes this manure (and the eggs buried therein) and then walks off to do snail-like activities. The eggs trapdoor gathers around the snails’ lungs and holds fire for the snail to cough them up. Once the snail hacks up the eggs, passing ants info these delightful morsels and gobbles them up. Well, the dumb ants, maybe you shouldn’t be consuming snail phlegm. The fluke worms make their entre to the ants’ nervous system and that’s where the story ends for Mr. Ant. The ant will wander off from the other fellows and look for a nice long blade of grass to climb. Once it’s mounted to the top, it fixes its jaws on the grass and waits. If nothing occurs, it’ll go back home and try again the next day. The next day it roams off from the group and does the same thing. This time, a grazing cow eats the ant accidentally. The fungus that controls ants is another way in which ants can be decreased in your backyards.