Death by Fungus - Alex Wild Photography
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Ophiocordyceps lloydii var. binata

Ophiocordyceps lloydii var. binata

This Camponotus femoratus worker ant has succumbed to an Ophiocordyceps lloydii var. binata fungus. The ant's death is peculiarly gruesome. In the early stages of infection the fungus takes partial control over the ant's brain, directing the ant to an area where the humidity is optimal for fungal growth. There, the ant bites down on a leaf vein, anchoring it in place. The fungus then kills the insect, consumes the tissues, and issues a fruiting body. Jatun Sacha reserve, Napo, Ecuador

cordycepsophiocordycepszombie ant fungusentomopathogenic fungusparasitesrainforestcamponotusants