New species of 'zombifying' fungi discovered in Brazil's Atlantic rain forest
Scientists have discovered four new species of fungi that target carpenter ants and manipulate their brains.
March 3rd, 2011
09:12 PM ET

New species of 'zombifying' fungi discovered in Brazil's Atlantic rain forest

Four new species of "zombie" fungi that infect ants and take control of their brains, eventually killing them, have been discovered in the Brazilian rain forest, according to a study published in the online journal PLoS ONE.

The article, "Hidden Diversity Behind the Zombie-Ant Fungus Ophiocordyceps unilateralis," names four new species belonging to the O. unilateralis species complex found in the Atlantic rain forest in the southeastern region of the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil.

The so-called zombie or brain-manipulating fungi alter the ant's behavior and causes it to die in an exposed position, typically clinging to and biting shrub leaves, the study says.

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Filed under: Brazil • Science
soundoff (116 Responses)
  1. to think big first think small

    Wow, these posts are so funny. I was having a slow morning, until now. Roflmfao!

    March 4, 2011 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |

    It does.. theres nothing zombieish about it. looks like they just get sick and then die.

    March 4, 2011 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Terry

      this fungus actually makes the ant climb up onto a bush and bite onto the leaf for ideal spore release("zombieish"). This of course happens in the last moments of the ants life(shortened by the fungus). Before reaching this point, the ant has plenty of time to go back into it's nest to spread spores to other ants.

      January 19, 2012 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
  3. Richard Allen

    zombie ants...just not as entertaining as Nazi Zombies in Call of Duty. When you kill a zombie ant, you feel indifferent. Killing a Nazi Zombie has some allure to it. Not for me in particular, but for millions of american children around the country.

    March 4, 2011 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Lawrence E

    This article shows a bit of the whimsical horror of life. People underestimate fungus. It is extremely tough and dangerous.

    March 4, 2011 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Granite Sentry

    Has Charlie Sheen been down there lately?

    March 4, 2011 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
  6. sofreakinwhat

    Psst u call this news did u hear rodney king got a ticket now thats newes

    March 4, 2011 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jo

    Can I get some of this to kill spiders?

    March 4, 2011 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |

    I just farted. Shoooooo : )

    March 4, 2011 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
  9. liz

    Now I know what's up with Sarah Palin!

    March 4, 2011 at 11:23 pm | Report abuse |
  10. TheFungusAmongUs

    In Brazil eating fungus will do it; in America, watching too much media will do it.

    March 5, 2011 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
  11. Kent Brockman

    Ladies and Gentleman, what we've seen speaks for itself. The Earth is being taken over, "conquered" if you will by a master race of giant zombie rain forest ants. It's difficult to tell from this vantage point whether they will consume the captive Earth men, or merely enslave them, however one thing is for certain: There is no stopping them, the ants...will soon be here.

    And I for one welcome our new insect overlords. As a trusted TV personality, I can be useful in rounding up others, to toil in their underground sugar caves.

    March 11, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
  12. daniel

    looks like the countless number of hours of Nazi Zombies i've played is about to pay off..

    March 11, 2011 at 7:03 pm | Report abuse |
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