This comes from National Geographic, so you know it’s true. Because they know more than I do about everything.
The ants in question hail from the rainforests of Thailand and their brains are being taken over by SOME CRAZY FREAKING ZOMBIE FUNGUS!
The fungus, a species of Ophiocordyceps, targets carpenter ants living high in Thailand’s rain forest canopy. The parasite hijacks the ants’ nervous systems, causing the insects to perform abnormal—and oddly specific—behaviors that help the fungus reproduce.
The fungus then slowly starts to fill the ant’s body and head, causing their muscles to waste away and muscle fibers to break down.
It takes about three to nine days from initial infection for the ants to become completely zombified, the team found.
That’s right, they just used the term ‘zombified’ on National Geographic. If you’ve any trouble following this so far, here’s a simple picture guide:
After a few days, the fungus directs the insect to clamp down on a leaf. The multiplying fungal cells in the ant’s head then cause fibers to detach within the muscles that open and close the ant’s mandibles.
Sucks to be them.
This results in “lockjaw,” which makes an infected ant unable to release the leaf, even after death, creating a stable place outside the ant for the fungus to grow. At this stage the fungus uses a poison to kill its host. Which leads me to the conclusion that:
We all know what happens next. Some eccentric scientist will send an expedition of mercenaries into the heart of the Thai rainforests to bring some zombie ants back to his lab where he plans to breed an army of them to fulfill his foul deeds. The ants will then escape and run amok in a nearby sleepy town, where a group of hormonal teenagers will put aside their differences to overcome them.