Ọbádélé Kambon

Up next

Kidnapper Ants Steal Other Ants' Babies - And Brainwash Them | Deep Look
21 Feb 2021
Kidnapper Ants Steal Other Ants' Babies - And Brainwash Them | Deep Look
Ọbádélé Kambon · 24 Views

This Killer Fungus Turns Flies into Zombies | Deep Look


Something is growing inside that fruit fly in your kitchen. At dusk, the fly points its wings straight up and dies in a gruesome pose so that a fungus can ooze out and fire hundreds of reproductive spores.

Join our community on Patreon! https://www.patreon.com/deeplook

DEEP LOOK is a ultra-HD (4K) short video series created by KQED San Francisco and presented by PBS Digital Studios. See the unseen at the very edge of our visible world. Explore big scientific mysteries by going incredibly small.

Some of the scariest monsters are the ones that grow inside another being and take over its body. Think of the movie Alien, where the reptile-like space creature explodes out of its victim’s chest.

That monster might be fictional, but scientists are studying a fungus that’s horrifyingly real — at least for the flies it invades, turns into a zombie-like state and kills in order to reproduce.

“Oh, it’s a nightmare for the flies,” said entomologist Brad Mullens, who studied the fungus at the University of California, Riverside.

The fungus is known by its scientific name, Entomophthora muscae, which means “fly destroyer.” It lives off houseflies and fruit flies, among others.

“It’s a crazy system,” said Carolyn Elya, a biologist at Harvard. “The fungus only kills at dusk.”

Like a killer puppeteer, the fungus follows a precise clock.

At dusk on the fourth or fifth day after it picks up a fungal spore, an infected fruit fly stops flying. It starts behaving erratically, for example climbing up and down toothpicks that Elya puts into the vials where she keeps the infected insects.

Then the fly climbs to the top of the toothpick, a behavior Elya and other scientists refer to as “summiting.”

In an unusual twist, the fly then extends its mouthpart down, and some liquid drips out and glues the fly to the surface it’s standing on. Over the next 10 minutes, the fly’s wings ascend until they’re pointing upwards and it dies frozen in this lifelike pose.

Soon after, white spongy fungus oozes out of its abdomen. This white goo is made up of hundreds of lollipop-shaped protrusions which each launch a microscopic bell-shaped spore at high speed. Now the spores just need to get into another fly to grow.

--- Could this or a similar fungus “zombify” humans?
“No, it's very unlikely,” Elya said. “We can control our bodily temperature to kill invaders.”

-- Can we use the fungus as biological control?
Researchers have tried, but the spores are too fragile to grow in the lab.

---+ Read the entire article on KQED Science:

---+ Shoutout!

🏆Congratulations🏆 to the following fans on our Deep Look Community Tab for coming up with the top titles - as decided by fellow Deep Peeps - for a horror movie starring this fungus:

Joginiz - "Flyday the 13th'
KingXDragoon - "Pretty Fly for a dead guy"
Laura Garrard - The Fungus Among Us!!
Lysiasolo - "Parafungal activity"
De paus van de Lilith Kerk - The whitecorpse horror (as an ode to HP Lovecraft "the Dunwich horror")

---+ Thank you to our Top Patreon Supporters ($10+ per month)!

Trae Wright
Justin Bull
Bill Cass
Alice Kwok
Sarah Khalida Mohamad
Stefficael Uebelhart
Daniel Weinstein
Chris B Emrick
Seghan Seer
Karen Reynolds
Tea Torvinen
David Deshpande
Daisuke Goto
Amber Miller
Companion Cube
Richard Shalumov
Elizabeth Ann Ditz
Robert Amling
Gerardo Alfaro
Mary Truland
Shirley Washburn
Robert Warner
johanna reis
Kendall Rasmussen
Sayantan Dasgupta
Cindy McGill
Leonhardt Wille
Joshua Murallon Robertson
Pamela Parker
Roberta K Wright
Shelley Pearson Cranshaw
Silvan Wendland
Two Box Fish
George Koutros
Dean Skoglund
Sonia Tanlimco
Guillaume Morin
Ivan Alexander
Laurel Przybylski
Jane Orbuch
Rick Wong
Levi Cai
Titania Juang
Nathan Wright
Kallie Moore
Michael Mieczkowski
Kyle Fisher
Geidi Rodriguez
SueEllen McCann
Daisy Trevino
Jeanne Sommer
Louis O'Neill
Katherine Schick
Aurora Mitchell
Chris Murphy
PM Daeley
Joao Ascensao
Nicolette Ray

---+ Follow KQED Science and Deep Look:

Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/deeplook
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kqedscience/
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/kqedscience
KQED Science on kqed.org: http://www.kqed.org/science
Facebook Watch: https://www.facebook.com/DeepLookPBS/

---+ About KQED

KQED, an NPR and PBS affiliate in San Francisco, CA, serves Northern California and beyond with a public-supported alternative to commercial TV, radio and web media.

Funding for Deep Look is provided in part by PBS Digital Studios. Deep Look is a project of KQED Science, which is also supported by the National Science Foundation, the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, the Dirk and Charlene Kabcenell Foundation, the Vadasz Family Foundation, the Fuhs Family Foundation, Campaign 21 and the members of KQED.

#fruitflies #deeplook

Show more
0 Comments sort Sort By

Up next

Kidnapper Ants Steal Other Ants' Babies - And Brainwash Them | Deep Look
21 Feb 2021
Kidnapper Ants Steal Other Ants' Babies - And Brainwash Them | Deep Look
Ọbádélé Kambon · 24 Views