Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Zombie Fire Ants!

Finally, those pernicious insects which haunt every yard in Texas are getting what's coming to them! Found via AceofSpades, here's an article with all the wonderfully gory details. That's the thing about Nature, she's so much more disturbing than most horror films:

The flies "dive-bomb" the fire ants and lay eggs. The maggot that hatches inside the ant eats away at the brain, and the ant starts exhibiting what some might say is zombie-like behavior.
.....The maggot eventually migrates into the ant's head, but 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. This wandering stage goes on for about two weeks."
About a month after the egg is laid, the ant's head falls off and the fly emerges ready to attack any foraging ants away from the mound and lay eggs.

But wait! It gets better. The flies terrify (rightfully so) the ants!
Plowes said fire ants are "very aware" of these tiny flies, and it only takes a few to cause the ants to modify their behavior.

"Just one or two flies can control movement or above-ground activity," Plowes said. "It's kind of like a medieval activity where you're putting a castle under siege."

I know it may seem exceedingly petty to revel in the horrific death of an anonymous hive insect but considering how often & how badly I got bit by these things when I was a kid, dude, revenge is SWEET. *wonders where I can purchase large quantities of phorid fly*

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