A bizarre phenomenon has arisen in the world of the insects. A destructive fungus started to attack flying insects causing their death. The insects in question are the cicadas and the fungus affects them by disintegrating their internal body parts which result in the fall off of their extremities and genitals, while altogether inducing them into a hypersexual madness.
The fungus, known as Massospora Cicadina, starts to affect the cicadas while they are still young and hibernating in the ground and unleash its power after they reach adulthood. Before it kills them, the fungus makes the insects cast off pores and copulate with not only females but also males.
Researchers in charge of examining the nasty fungus have delightedly learned that the chemicals identified in the fungus are very much like the ones in hallucinogenic mushrooms, which can lay the groundwork for medicinal drugs.
This Deadly Fungus Turns Insects Into “Zombies”
Cicadas are insects that live their nymph life under the ground and which come to the surface after 13-17 years, only to live six more weeks as adults. During their time in the ground, they become contaminated with the infection; the symptoms occur after around 10 days after the adults emerge to the surface and from then on the fungus in command of their bodies.
An interesting fact is that the infection does not execute the cicada immediately. The cicada is able to fly and walk normally while spreading the fungus’ spores for some time, before gruesomely dying.
While not being capable of infecting the insects with Massospora Cicadina in the laboratory, the researchers are preparing to sequence the genome of the fungus and contrast the normal cicadas with the sick ones to understand more about the way the contamination happens. It is expected of the study to have practical uses in pharmacology.