Ok – so far I’ve got three entries I can put in this category, but I’ll spread them out a little bit.
This first installment is something called a Cordyceps Fungus which is a fungus that infects mainly insects. Basically, an infected insect is doomed to become a zombie and to more than likely infect others – especially if it is a colony dwelling insect like this ant.
Once the fungus has matured, it somehow takes over the insect’s brain and causes it to climb up to a high spot, and at least in the case of ants from what I’ve seen/read and confirmed by this individual, causes them to clamp down on a spot where the real horror story stuff starts being visible…
As if being a zombie being controlled by a fungus wasn’t bad enough, at this point, the fungus bursts through the insect’s exoskeleton and spells the end for that individual. Then the fungus ejects spores out into the area ready to infect others.
As I said, I’ve read about cordyceps fungi and I’ve seen them in documentaries, but I never figured I’d actually get to see one. And this was another one of those things that as soon as I saw it, I knew instantly what it was and knew I had to photograph it. I would feel a little bad for all the zombified insects, but I wouldn’t mind seeing some more cordyceps fungi because as I did some quick research to make sure I shared accurate information (and not just some half-remembered thing stuck in some random corner of my own zombified brain), I saw some truly incredible fungal formations as they infect different critters.
But how is that for a start to a weird but true odd thing?