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Thread: Fungi transmitted by Insect Sex

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    Administrator lpetrich's Avatar
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    Fungi transmitted by Insect Sex

    Fungal Hallucinogens Send Cicadas on Sex Binges After Their Genitals Fall Off
    In latest gruesome nature news, scientists have discovered new details on a fungus that compels its cicada hosts to mate long after their genitals have gone and their bodies have turned into what one researcher colourfully describes as 'flying salt shakers of death'.

    The fungus is called Massospora cicadina, and its effects read like an abstinence campaign for cicadas. But it also appears that it affects the sex-crazed cicadas by sending them on one heck of a drug trip.
    New Research Shows This Beetle Fungus Is Definitely The STI From Hell
    Here's a small word of advice; if you happen to be an adult beetle on the lookout for a date, you might want to start with a conversation before getting hot and heavy.

    New research has described how a parasitic fungus called Eryniopsis lampyridarum becomes an STI from Hell by killing its host and then spreading its spores onto other beetles that try to mate with its corpse.
    Entomophthora muscae – Master Gardener Program
    his fungus can also be transmitted in another way. Male house flies are attracted to dead female flies infected with the fungus, and can pick up spores when attempting to mate with the corpse. About 90% of such encounters result in infection. Before they die, infected males can mechanically transmit spores to female flies during mating, and matings between infected males and healthy females results in fewer viable eggs.

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    Administrator lpetrich's Avatar
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    Absurd Creature of the Week: The Zombie Ant and the Fungus That Controls Its Mind | WIRED
    But on our planet there exist zombified ants that undergo a decidedly more complex, and more disturbing, transformation at the hands of highly sophisticated parasitic fungi that assume control of the insects’ minds. What ensues between a host and a parasite with no brain of its own is a battle that is far stranger and far more methodical than anything ever dreamed up by Hollywood.
    The Cordyceps fungus, which makes infected ants climb plants then bite into leaves. The ants die their, and the fungi make fruiting bodies that grow out from their hosts. These bodies make spores which then infect more ants.

    Ants have a behavioral adaptation: dragging infected ants far outside their colonies. But this fungus can spread fast enough to destroy whole colonies.
    The very success that allows the fungi to build up what Hughes calls "graveyards in the forest" also "invites other organisms to come in and infect them,” he said. “And these hyperparasitic fungi castrate the zombie ant fungi. So the zombie ant fungi rely upon a spore body that releases spores and continues to cycle, and the other parasite comes in and whacks it out.” In one study Hughes found that only 6.5 percent of a zombie ant fungi's fruiting bodies produced viable spores.
    This Parasitic Fungus Is Worth More Than Its Weight in Gold - a parasitic fungus that afflicts caterpillars and that lives in the Himalayas and the Tibetan Plateau. Some people believe it to have great medicinal value: men who eat this fungus can supposedly get "the delights of thousands of beautiful women".

    Absurd Creature of the Week: The Parasitic Worm That Turns Snails Into Disco Zombies | WIRED - a parasitic worm called Leucochloridium - these worms enter snails' eyestalks and make them swell up. That makes the eyestalks look like worms to small birds, and these birds then eat them. The worms then live inside the birds' guts, breed, and lay eggs, which the birds then excrete. Snails then pick them up. Like ants infected by Cordyceps fungi, infected snails climb trees, making their eyestalks more visible to birds.

    Absurd Creature of the Week: The Parasitic Worm That Turns Crickets Into Suicidal Maniacs | WIRED - Paragordius varius - an adult worm in water lays eggs, which sink to the bottom and hatch. Juvenile aquatic insects then eat the juvenile worms, and when adult, move onto land where they die. Crickets eat these worms, which then grow to adulthood. The worms want to get back into water, so they make their cricket hosts jump into water and then escape from their hosts.

    Parasitic Behaviors of the Lancet Liver Fluke, The brain worm that turns ants into zombies | Natural History Museum - the lancet river fluke, a flatworm called Dicrocoelium dendriticum - its lifecycle starts with its eggs being eaten by snails. The worms hatch, then grow inside of snails, and they then make their hosts release them inside of slime balls. Their next host is ants, and the worms invade their hosts' brains and then control their hosts' behavior. They make their hosts climb grass leaves at night and bite into the leaf tops. They do so at night so as to avoid the Sun's heat. When a grazing animal like a cow or a sheep eats the grass, the worms then head for the animals' bile ducts and spend the rest of their lives there, laying eggs that their hosts then excrete.

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    Administrator lpetrich's Avatar
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    This Intimidating Parasite Burrows Into Its Host's Eye And Hijacks Its Brain - the eye fluke Diplostomum pseudospathaceum
    1. It mates in a bird's digestive tract, where the eggs pass into the water with the bird's faeces
    2. Larvae hatch from the eggs and seek out a freshwater snail to burrow into, where they mature and reproduce asexually
    3. The next stage of larvae, free-swimming forms of the parasite called cercariae, leave the snail and then dig their way through a fish's hide for their final journey, which ends in the lens of the animal's eyeball in a stage called metacercariae
    4. A bird eats the fish, infected eyeballs and all, and the fun begins all over again.
    Though the worms may degrade their hosts' vision, their biggest effects are manipulation of their hosts' behavior. When mature, they make their fish hosts swim near the surface, and swim more actively. This makes their hosts more evident to birds, helping the worms continue in their life cycles.

    Parasite makes mice lose fear of cats permanently : Nature News & Comment noting Mice Infected with Low-Virulence Strains of Toxoplasma gondii Lose Their Innate Aversion to Cat Urine, Even after Extensive Parasite Clearance - the one-celled protist Toxoplasma gondii.

    When these bugs infect mice, they make their hosts less fearful of the smell of cats. This makes their hosts more vulnerable to being eaten by cats and likely other mouse predators. When that happens, the bugs then move to their hosts' eaters, making those eaters their new hosts.


    Some disease symptoms are plausibly interpreted as host manipulation. Coughing and diarrhea, for instance, though they could also be efforts of the hosts to rid themselves of the disease organisms. Rabies has a very sadistic way of doing so. It makes it difficult for its hosts to swallow, and it makes its hosts want to bite potential hosts. Thus, the rabies virus injects itself into its new hosts' bloodstreams, using its old hosts' saliva as a carrier.

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    Fair dinkum thinkum bilby's Avatar
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    Isn't God's creation just wonderful?

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    Yes, "All Things Bright and Beautiful" vs. "All Things Dull and Ugly".

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