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Now we know how Zombie Ant gets its bite



How to begin to understand the amazing complexity of fungi that invade the ant's body grows on its tissues and orders the host to climb a tree and bite it on a twig, kill it and explode on the back of your head to rain down the spores of more ants below? Should science just leave this zombie outbreak mystery?

No, it's not fun at it. During the Penn State, biologists are annoyed by this amazing manipulation of the fungus Ophiocordyceps and today they put a new piece of the puzzle – how the fungus gets an ant to bite the twig.

Matt Simon covers cannabis, robots and climatic science for WIRED. the ant begins to eat its way through the hard material, eventually penetrating the sticky, nutritious guts. Here she grows so-called. Hippocampal tubes all over the body, forming a net that penetrates into the muscles of the poor. (How do I feel is a mystery that we would never want to solve.) Although the fungus manipulates the behavior of darkness in incomprehensible ways, it never penetrates the brain. Instead, it grows around it and in the muscles that control the proximal mandibles, also known as household bits.

Pen's researchers used a scanning electron microscope to depict small things by bombarding them with electrons to look at these mandibular muscles. dying ants. "What we've found is that the muscles seem to be in a state of forced contraction," says molecular biologist Colin Mangold, lead author of a new book describing the findings in . Image of a scanning electron microscope of muscular muscles covered with tubular fungal cells. Pay attention to the connection points between the cells.

Colleen Mangold

It is curious that the fungus destroys the sarcoma, something like a wrap around the muscle fibers. But he left intact the neuromuscular bonds where the neurons communicate with the muscles to move them. "What he tells us is that he can have a central signal coming from the brain and initiating muscle contraction as neuromuscular links are maintained," Mangold says. In other words, the fungus not only crumbles in the muscles and destroys it, not interrupting communication with the brain. to make them unable to open again. The hypothesis, says Mangold, is that once the ant reaches a spot and bites it, the bite secretes something of a synchronicity during the bite, which causes the muscular force to contract and then death. the zombie becomes a vector for the fungal pathogen that continues to devastate the colony. The stem that erupts from the back of his head heats up spore spores on larger ants below, thus perpetuating the parasite infection in the colony

Kim Fleming

For all this research, complicated manipulations in nature also raise new questions. Mangold and her colleagues are particularly curious about what they call extracellular particles as vesicles – small spheres attached to fungal cells. "We really do not know what they are," she says. "We do not know whether they are derived from the fungus or the host, but perhaps they can play a role in initiating a contraction of the mandibular muscle." Beauveria bassiana A non-zombie fungal parasite that also destroys the sarcoma. Cloaking can help the two fungi create penetration points so they can deliver nutrients to their mushroom communities in the muscles. And for Ophiocordyceps exposure to fibers may facilitate dosing with some toxin necessary for manipulation.

So, as scientists reveal a mystery of the zombie ant, there are more mysteries in it. place. But as far as I can not understand what this is when a sponge can invade our muscle fibers, I'm good.
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