American scientists from the University of Arkansas and Cornell University have discovered a new species of parasitic fungi that turns females beetles Chauliognathus pensylvanicus macotela into zombies. Killed by the fungus the insects are attracted to males that mate with them and become infected themselves. Press release published on the website Phys.org.
C. pensylvanicus live in the meadows and fields, feeding on flowering plants. They often sit on flowers where the fungus lives Eryniopsis lampyridarum. When the bug infected them, the jaws of the insect firmly stick to the plant, then the animal dies. A day later, his wings are revealed. Dead females as males are ready to mate, but the attempt copulation leads to infection of new insect fungus and the further spread of the parasite.
Researchers found that of the 446 they have collected 90 beetles were infected with E. lampyridarum. From infection to the disclosure of the wings were about 15-22 hours. In addition, the fungus caused a swelling of the abdomen, which also did the dead female zombie attractive to the opposite sex.
The researchers plan to investigate whether it is possible to reduce the speed of spread of the fungus, if you glue the wings are infested with insects.