tagged w/ Ants
This is pretty freaky! Reminds me of the movie with Mark Walburg where the spores caused everyone to kill themselves.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3heLtvopm4QThis is pretty freaky! Reminds me of the movie with Mark Walburg where the spores... more
The daily life of a hardworking carpenter ant must be pretty repetitive, what with the constant marching and relentless leaf-cutting -- unless they run across a fungus which has the power to turn them into mindless, bumbling 'zombies', in which case, things can get interesting. Researchers from Penn State studying ants in Thailand have stumbled upon one of the spookiest parasitic phenomena ever recorded: a fungus that doesn't just kill its insect host -- it invades their minds and forces them to do its bidding.
This strange new fungus, Ophiocordyceps unilateralis, is a nasty parasite indeed, transforming its host ant's typical 'go-with-the-flow' attitude into one that's a bit less orderly. Infected ants have been observed deviating from their peers in line, seeming to lose direction as the growing fungus seizes control of their basic motor ability.
Once the fungus has reached the ant's head, it causes the insect to clamp-down on the underside of a leaf which locks in place as its jaw becomes dislocated -- subjecting the ant to a painful, self-inflicted death
A few days later, the fungus forms a spore-rich structure from the dead ant's brain where it awaits its next unsuspecting victim.
David Hughes, one of the Penn State University researchers involved in the study, explains the phenomena to News.com:
The fungus attacks the ants on two fronts. Firstly by using the ant as a walking food source, and secondly by damaging muscle and the ant's central nervous system, resulting in zombie walking and the death bite, which place the ant in the cool damp understorey.
Together these provide the perfect environment for fungal growth and reproduction.
Recently, a similar parasite was found to be infecting several ant species in Brazil, but until now the physical process behind the phenomena had yet to be fully understood.The daily life of a hardworking carpenter ant must be pretty repetitive, what with the... more
Watch these ants form a life raft to avoid drowning. This is why ants will still be crawling around when we human are wiped off the planet.Watch these ants form a life raft to avoid drowning. This is why ants will still be... more
The world just got a little weirder: Scientists have identified four new species of brain-controlling fungi that turn ants into zombies that do the parasite's bidding before it kills them.
Identified from samples collected at two sites in Brazil's tropical rain forest, each of the four species specializes in controlling a different species of carpenter ant.
The original zombie-ant fungus, Ophiocordyceps unilateralis, was first identified in 1865, and it seems to exist around the world. [Mind-Controlling Parasites Date Back Millions of Years]
"So we knew, right off the bat, there was a range of other species within that," said study researcher David Hughes, an entomologist at Pennsylvania State University. "I think it will turn out to be in the hundreds."
Once it infects an ant, the fungus uses as-yet-unidentified chemicals to control the ant's behavior, Hughes told LiveScience. It directs the ant to leave its colony (a very un-ant-like thing to do) and bite down on the underside of a leaf — the ant's soon-to-be resting place. Once it is killed by the fungus, the ant remains anchored in place, thanks to its death grip on the leaf.
Ultimately, the fungus produces a long stalk that protrudes from the ant's head, shooting spores out in the hopes of infecting other ants. Two of the four newly discovered species also sprouted smaller stalks elsewhere, including from the victim's feet and lower leg joints – the equivalent of knees.
The spores of the four species also had distinct features and germination processes.
Hughes is concerned that one of the four fungus species, O. camponoti-novogranadensis, may not be around for much longer. During their visits to Brazil, Hughes and his colleagues saw that the high-elevation site where the species was found had become markedly drier and hotter. Hughes attributed the change in conditions at the Parque Estadual de Itacolomi, which is near the World Heritage Site Ouro Preto, to global warming.
The ants can survive this shift in the local climate, but "the fungus can't," he said. "What we think we will see is the extinction event of the fungus we just managed to describe." (Hughes said fungi are essential aquatic organisms living in terrestrial environments, making them extra-sensitive to a drying climate.)
The research by Hughes and colleagues Simon Elliot and Harry Evans appears online today (March 2) in the journal PLoS ONE.The world just got a little weirder: Scientists have identified four new species of... more
In South America, female phorid flies have developed a bizarre reproductive strategy: They hover over fire ants (pictured in a file photo), then inject their eggs into the ants with a needle-like appendage.
The egg grows and the resulting larva generally migrates to the ant's head. The larva lives there for weeks--slurping up the brain and turning the ant into a "zombie," in some cases compelling the ant to march 55 yards (50 meters) away from its colony to avoid attack by other fire ants.
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/05/photogalleries/zombie-ants/In South America, female phorid flies have developed a bizarre reproductive strategy:... more
A photo of leafcutter ants in Costa Rica has nabbed the Wildlife Photographer of the Year award. Bence Mate, the man behind the picture, explained the steps he took:
"They were only active at night, which made my job very difficult."
A flash behind the leaf gave the silhouette effect.
Click the link to see the runners up.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-11588616A photo of leafcutter ants in Costa Rica has nabbed the Wildlife Photographer of the... more
The oldest evidence of a fungus that turns ants into zombies and makes them stagger to their death has been uncovered by scientists.
The gruesome hallmark of the fungus's handiwork was found on the leaves of plants that grew in Messel, near Darmstadt in Germany, 48m years ago.
The finding shows that parasitic fungi evolved the ability to control the creatures they infect in the distant past, even before the rise of the Himalayas.
The fungus, which is alive and well in forests today, latches on to carpenter ants as they cross the forest floor before returning to their nests high in the canopy.
The fungus grows inside the ants and releases chemicals that affect their behaviour. Some ants leave the colony and wander off to find fresh leaves on their own, while others fall from their tree-top havens on to leaves nearer the ground.The oldest evidence of a fungus that turns ants into zombies and makes them stagger to... more
François Vautier says: “I installed an ant colony inside my scanner five years ago. I scanned the nest each week.”
http://vimeo.com/13703448François Vautier says: “I installed an ant colony inside my scanner five... more
"It sounds like something out of science fiction: zombie fire ants. But it's all too real.
Fire ants wander aimlessly away from the mound.
Eventually their heads fall off, and they die.
The strange part is that researchers at the University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M's AgriLife Extension Service say making "zombies" out of fire ants is a good thing.
"It's a tool — they're not going to completely wipe out the fire ant, but it's a way to control their population," said Scott Ludwig , an integrated pest management specialist with the AgriLife Extension Service in Overton , in East Texas .
The tool is the tiny phorid fly, native to a region of South America where the fire ants in Texas originated. Researchers have learned that there are as many as 23 phorid species along with pathogens that attack fire ants to keep their population and movements under control.
So far, four phorid species have been introduced in Texas .
The flies "dive-bomb" the fire ants and lay eggs. The maggot that hatches inside the ant eats away at the brain, and the ant starts exhibiting what some might say is zombie-like behavior.
"At some point, the ant gets up and starts wandering," said Rob Plowes, a research associate at UT.
The maggot eventually migrates into the ant's head, but Plowes said he "wouldn't use the word 'control' to describe what is happening. There is no brain left in the ant, and the ant just starts wandering aimlessly. This wandering stage goes on for about two weeks.""It sounds like something out of science fiction: zombie fire ants. But it's... more
In a bizarre parasitic death sentence, a fungus turns carpenter ants into the walking dead and gets them to die in a spot that's perfect for the fungus to grow and reproduce.
Scientists have no clue how the fungus takes control of the brains of ants so effectively. But a new study in the September issue of the American Naturalist reveals an incredible set of strategies that ensue.
The carpenter ants nest high in the canopy of a forest in Thailand, and they trek to the forest floor to forage. The fungus, Ophiocordyceps unilateralis, prefers to end up on the undersides leaves sprouting from the northwest side of plants that grow on the forest floor, the new study showed. That's where temperature, humidity and sunlight are ideal for the fungus to grow and reproduce and infect more ants.
Once infected by the fungus, an ant is compelled to climb down from the canopy to the low leaves, where it clamps down with its mandibles just before it dies.
"The fungus accurately manipulates the infected ants into dying where the parasite prefers to be, by making the ants travel a long way during the last hours of their lives," said study leader David P. Hughes of Harvard University.
After the ant dies, the fungus continues to grow inside it. By dissecting victims, Hughes and colleagues found that the parasite converts the ant's innards into sugars that help the fungus grow. But it leaves the muscles controlling the mandibles intact to make sure the ant keeps its death grip on the leaf.
The fungus also preserves the ant's outer shell, growing into cracks and crevices to reinforce weak spots, thereby fashioning a protective coating that keeps microbes and other fungi out.
"The fungus has evolved a suite of novel strategies to retain possession of its precious resource," Hughes said.In a bizarre parasitic death sentence, a fungus turns carpenter ants into the walking... more
Driving in the "Ant" car is futurustic transportation at its best. Designer Ramon Ramirez created the car as an eco-friendly vehicle which runs on electric and solar energy.
The car is equipped with an environment simulator screen and a panoramic auto tinted window. Solar panels provide energy to the inner cabin, while the electric wheels move independantly.Driving in the "Ant" car is futurustic transportation at its best. Designer... more
"The Ophiocordyceps unilateralis fungus infects Camponotus leonardi ants that live in tropical rainforest trees. Once infected, the spore-possessed ant will climb down from its normal habitat and bite down, with what the authors call a "death grip" on a leaf and then die. But the story doesn’t end there.""The Ophiocordyceps unilateralis fungus infects Camponotus leonardi ants that... more
Home & Garden Expert, Lisa Quinn, shows how you can rid and safeguard your home from household ants, fire ants, cockroaches and grubs, by identifying and treating pest hotspots and utilizing a new website from DuPont, called www.callyourpro.com.Home & Garden Expert, Lisa Quinn, shows how you can rid and safeguard your home... more
As E.O. Wilson accepts his 2007 TEDTalks Prize, he makes a plea on behalf of all creatures that we learn more about our biosphere -- and build a networked encyclopedia of all the world's knowledge about life.As E.O. Wilson accepts his 2007 TEDTalks Prize, he makes a plea on behalf of all... more
Tuesday's edition of my three times a week talk show.Watch or listen to the show on Tues, Thurs & Sats here at WWW.UNITEDKINGDOMTALK.CO.UK
In today's show :
Welcome to Heidi in Florida.
Ipods look nice.
Suko superstar sings.
We all pull over for 10 mins.
Where's my MP3 player ?
I'm no good a poetry.
Is it because I am fat ?
Don't travel at 5pm.
Who won last years X factor ?
I don't like heights.
A real piano tuner.
People are like ants.
A girl or a boy ?
My knees were killing me.
You never know who' watching or listening.
Karaoke video's - same link as above (Suko sings) for part 1.
Part 2 here :
He winked at me.
A slight reduction in my lengths.
We don't do serious.
Click click click click.
I'd like to drive a bus or coach.
I've started work on the new studio.
I've been to the theatre again !
People racing you in the swimming pool
The worst ever seats for leg room.
"The Boy George Experience & Mandy Gap".
Taking a big pay cut.
Going in after 6pm.
The snail always wins.
www.chrisreardon.co.ukTuesday's edition of my three times a week talk show.Watch or listen to the show... more
These shots are pretty crazy, they show an Ant-Eutetramorium mocquerysi, or just Ant to his friends, in über closeup detail. Aliens have never looked so likely...
Click through for the full interactive picture, if you're not squeamish that is.These shots are pretty crazy, they show an Ant-Eutetramorium mocquerysi, or just Ant... more