Thursday, September 21, 2023

"Move over, Cordyceps, there’s a new “zombie” parasite to haunt our dreams"

We've been on the zombie beat for a few years. Here's 2019's "Scientists advised against consuming hypersexual zombie cicadas infected with psychoactive fungus"

And from Ars Technica, September 20:

The lancet liver fluke controls infected ants with a temperature-based on/off switch.

Parasites that control and alter the behavior of their hosts are well-known in nature. Most notably, there is a family of zombifying parasitic fungi called Cordyceps—more than 400 different species, each targeting a particular insect species, whether it be ants, dragonflies, cockroaches, aphids, or beetles. In fact, Cordyceps inspired the premise of The Last of Us game and subsequent TV series. And earlier this month we reported on a study of how a parasitic worm (trematode) targets a particular species of marsh-dwelling brown shrimp (amphipod), turning the shrimp an orange hue and altering the host shrimp's behavior.

Then there's the lancet liver fluke, whose complicated life cycle relies on successfully invading successive hosts: snails, ants, and grazing mammals. (Some liver flukes have also been known to infect the occasional unfortunate human.) Scientists at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark have discovered that the way the liver fluke "zombifies" ants to alter their behavior incorporates a kind of "on/off" switch that, in turn, is dependent on temperature. The researcherse described their findings in a recent paper published in the journal Behavioral Ecology.

"Historically, parasites have never really been focused on that much, despite there being scientific sources which say that parasitism is the most widespread life form," said co-author Brian Lund Fredensborg. "This is in part due to the fact that parasites are quite difficult to study. Nevertheless, the hidden world of parasites forms a significant part of biodiversity, and by changing the host's behavior, they can help determine who eats what in nature. That's why they're important for us to understand."...

....MUCH MORE, it gets worse, quick

Related in undead spirit:

And In Other 2020 News....
From LiveScience:
Mind-controlling fungus makes zombie cicadas lure other cicadas to a zombie fate
After the fungus infects cicadas, it enlists their help to make more zombies.
Male cicadas infected by a particularly gruesome parasitic fungus become zombies with an undercover mission: They broadcast a female's sexy come-hither message to other male cicadas, luring their unsuspecting victims to join the zombie cicada horde....MORE

I think I saw those guys in Portland.
But not so much with the 'sexy' scent.

Last night they did the traditional zombie campfire with the burning of the pigs head on a bed of pages from the Bible, plated on an American flag and topped off with a Portland police officers hat.

And 2014's "A Panicked Economist, Hiding From Zombies in The Basement, Hears a Window Break..."
Making Bastiat come (semi-) alive! 

Climateer Line of the Day: Austrians Looking at Economic Isolationism In the Zombie Apocalypse Edition

U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings: "A Zombie Fighter’s Guide to Strategy"
They are trying to think outside the box.

2017's "Anna and the Apocalypse is everything the words 'Scottish Christmas zombie musical' imply

Speaking of zombies: "The Time PIMCO's Bill Gross Acted Like A Cheap Prick To A Waitress"

2013:  "There is a movie where Israel and Hezbollah ally to fight zombies"

 "A biotech concern has received bioethics approval to try raising the dead"

Finally, although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and its 11,000 employees may have utterly failed in their actual job, disease control and prevention, they do have a dandy Zombie Preparedness page.