Zombie Ants: When's the Movie Coming?

Jeanne Sager

antsAnd now the news that a science fiction writer's wet dreams are made of: a parasitic fungus has been turning carpenter ants into zombies for the past 48 million years.

No, this isn't the latest straight to DVD flick idea.

Scientists say it's for realsies.

And here we've been worried about an alien army dropping down on us?

According to scientists at the University of Exeter, the fungus, Ophiocordyceps unilateralis, takes over the mind of infected carpenter ants, luring them to a leaf that's a prime growing spot for the fungus.

The ant bites the leaf and dies then and there. But like any good zombie, it continues to serve its purpose: The bite allows the fungus to reproduce on the leaf, infecting more ants and eventually -- wait for it Pinky -- taking over the world.

Or at least trying to (hey, Brain never quite managed it either).

The news has a host of implications for the future. Not least of which: Who will Simon Pegg play in the movie?

Oh, and all that scientific mumbo jumbo about the relationship of parasites to hosts. Yawn.

We prefer to think about the movie. Maybe yet another Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, this time with giant parasitic ants instead of friendly kid-carrying ones?

Oh the possibilities.


Image via brian gatwicke/Flickr

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