'Zombie-ant' 1

A parasite that fights the zombie-ant fungus has yielded some of its secrets to an international research team led by David Hughes of Penn State University. The research reveals, for the first time, how an entire ant colony is able to survive infestations by the zombie-ant fungus, which invades an ant's brain and causes it to march to its death at a mass grave near the ant colony, where the fungus spores erupt out of the ant's head. This photo shows a zombie ant with the brain-manipulating fungus (Ophiocordyceps unilateralis s.l.) having been castrated by an hyperparasite fungus (white with yellow material). This is no longer a threat to the ants.

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Taken on September 8, 2007