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Cycads Are Being Infected With A Mushroom That Makes Them Zombies



Cycads are thriving for a parasitic infection that basically turns them into zombies. You should read that right. The fungus known scientifically as Massospora has been infecting male cycles for years, according to a journal from PLOS Pathogens as reported by LiveScience. However it doesn’t stop there. Just like an army of zombies, male caddy zombies begin to work toward increasing their numbers by attracting other male cicadas using the bright wing shifts traditionally used by female cicadas to lure in. male friends.

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When uninfected male scars try to match the infected cicada after they have been lured, the Massospora is transferred and begins to infect the new cicada by eating out into its abdomen. It replaces the abdomen with itself, which looks like a cluster of yellow spores.

It seems not easy to look at this zombie-like transformation as the generally infected scars are of the genus Magicicada, spending up to 17 years of their lives underground each time. Fortunately for scientists behind the PLOS Pathogens report, they are able to track different cicada populations that are emerging at different times through a cycle of years.

Once the abdomen is transformed into a spore passage, the now zombified cicada will fly around it and drop the spores to further infect the zygote. As for how Massospora controls this spore-dropping flight and the breeding call that occurs after infection, scientists are still not sure what chemicals in the fungus are doing so.Life of an uninfected cicada after it has emerged from the ground years and years after birth usually lasts only a few weeks. They agree, lay eggs, then die. When they are infected by Massospora, their lives are prolonged but considering they are zombies at that point, they are hardly living.

If you’re declaring for science like a zombie, read about how scientists are recreating 100 million-year-old underwater life forms. After that, read about how the moon jellyfish was created by scientists earlier this year.

Wesley LeBlanc is a freelance news writer and guide producer for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter @LeBlancWes.




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