Saturday, December 5, 2009

101 Interesting Things, part thirty-six: Cordyceps, scourge of the jungle!

Cordyceps is one of my favorite kinds of parasite: a zombie parasite! That is, a biological zombie parasite, not a memetic zombie parasite (religion, nationalism, etc.). What do I mean by "zombie parasite?" I mean a parasite that overwhelmingly alters the behavior of the host, like rabies (which makes its host restless, vicious, and thirsty), in a way that makes it dramatically more likely to cause the parasite to spread. The common cold, influenza, ebola, these just straight up kill you (or get killed) and it's a pretty boring fight. But zombie parasites make you do things that you could imagine the parasite straight up asking you to do, and you say "Yes." Just like religion!

Check this out:
Footage from Planet Earth.
Cordyceps is a real monster, albeit a beautiful one. It can make floor-dwelling ants, which would normally spend their entire lives on or beneath the ground, climb. And it looks cool, too! Check out some of these sweet photos:
Seriously: so awesome. But don't ever mutate! You can click on any of those "source" links for bigger (and more!) images, and you can also go here for even more shots. Great stuff!

1 comment:

Allan Ben said...

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