Tropical carpenter ants (species Camponotus leonardi) in the rainforest canopy in Thailand. Fungus caused them to become zombie-like and to die at a spot that has optimal reproduction conditions for the fungus.
The fungus grows a stroma or fruiting body through the ant’s head. The stroma releases spores to be picked up by another wandering ant.
David P. Hughes, who took these photos, is working with a multinational team to study this fungus. Hughes is an assistant professor of entomology and biology at Penn State. His continuing research at Penn State is designed to learn how the fungus might be used to control pest insects in homes and farms.
Ok, YourLookInMyEyes, that’s the last zombie ant image! You can breath now.
Photos Permissions: Non-commercial use only. Must credit David Hughes.