Zombie ant fungi manipulate hosts to die on the ‘doorstep’ of the colony

18 agosto 2014

A parasitic fungus that must kill its ant hosts outside their nest to reproduce and transmit their infection, manipulates its victims to die in the vicinity of the colony, ensuring a constant supply of potential new hosts, according to researchers. The fungus grows a stalk, called the stroma, which protrudes from the ant cadaver. A large round structure, known as the ascoma, forms on the stroma. Infectious spores then develop in the ascoma and are discharged onto the forest floor below, where they can infect foraging ants from the colony.