Thursday, May 14, 2009

Pesky Ants Becoming Zombies That Die

General awesomeness aside, I can't imagine anything that could possibly go wrong with this:

(via U.S. News and World Reports)
"Some researchers in Texas are trying an unusual approach to combat fire ants -- parasitic flies that turn the pesky insects into zombies whose heads fall off.


The flies "dive-bomb" the fire ants and lay eggs, and then the maggot that hatches inside the ant eats away at the brain. Later, the ant gets up and starts wandering for about two weeks, said Rob Plowes, a research associate at the University of Texas at Austin.

Although the ant exhibits zombie-like behavior, Plowes said he "wouldn't use the word 'control' to describe what is happening. There is no brain left in the ant, and the ant just starts wandering aimlessly."

About a month after the egg is laid, the ant's head falls off and it dies — and the fly emerges ready to attack any foraging ants away from the mound and lay eggs."
This has given me an idea for a new book: