- Jul 8, 2000
- Reaction score
Humans aren't the only ones susceptible to the psychedelic chemicals found in magic mushrooms. "Zombie cicadas" — under the influence of a parasitic fungus — have reemerged in West Virginia to infect their friends, and now scientists have a better understanding of how it happens.
Researchers from West Virginia University recently saw the return of these bizarre creatures, which are infected with a fungus called Massospora. According to a study published in the journal PLOS Pathogens, the fungus manipulates the insects to unknowingly infect other cicadas, rapidly transmitting the disease to create a zombie army of sorts.
When a male cicada is infected with Massospora, researchers found it flicks its wings like a female, a known mating call. This behavior attracts healthy male cicadas, facilitating the spread of the fungus, which contains chemicals including psilocybin, found in hallucinogenic mushrooms.
After more than a decade underground, "zombie cicadas" emerge to "enlist living insects to do their bidding."
Yeah, I've seen enough for this year.