David P. Hughes, Maj-Britt Pontoppidan

Fungus takes control of an ant by hijacking its body, not its brain

The fungus that grows out of carpenter ants’ heads hijacks the insect’s body without touching its brain. That’s the creepy conclusion of a recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Instead, the fungus infiltrates an ant’s body first through its bloodstream as individual spores and then invades its muscles, fusing together to form manipulative networks that force the ant to do its bidding, The Atlantic reports. The researchers speculate the fungus disconnects the ant’s muscles from its brain to master body-snatching success.

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