Scientists from Penn State University have found a gene called egt found in a virus, that can take control of a caterpillar, turining them into zombies!
Here’s how the virus works –
First the virus brainwashes the caterpillar.
Forces the caterpillar to aimlessly climb trees.
Then, with a combination of genes in the virus, it melts the caterpillar.
The caterpillar then turns into green goo which drips from the tree.
This sticky goo when stamped on will further infect more caterpillars/moths.
And the process continues..
It’s a creepy world for the caterpillars!
Reasearcher Kelli Hoover says “There are other genes in the virus that then make the caterpillar melt. So it becomes a pool of millions of virus particles that end up dropping onto the foliage below where it can infect other moths that eat those leaves”, as said in the Dail Mail.
So don’t be surprised if you walk into a park and find strange looking caterpillars marching up trees and dead moths falling from trees as sticky green goo.
Luckily, there is a cure, scientists say it is possible to remove this gene from the virus thus saving the caterpillars from their misery.
If your thinking caterpillars are the only ones that turn into zombies? You’re wrong! Apart from Zombie Caterpillars, there are Zombie Ants! The culprit this time is fungus Ophiocordyceps camponoti-balzani.
If you see an ant chillin’ at an edge of a leaf, it might just not exactly be chillin’ , it just might be a zombie ant.
Now it’s for topics like these, I’ve created a category called “Randomness” on my blog! : )
image source: source