Cordyceps only affects insects ; it can’t infect humans. In fact, it’s apparently often used to treat certain ailments, such as respiratory disorders, and can boost the immune system., and i guess. I’ve never tried the stuff.
So, what do cordyceps do to ants?
Cordyceps fungi excel at infecting and killing insects. One particular species, Ophiocordyceps unilateralis, has become famous for its ability to turn ants into zombies. It grows through an ant’s body, creating a network of filaments that commandeers the insect’s muscles.
One more question we ran across in our research was “How does Cordyceps kill the ant?”.
Here is what my research found. In this case, once the ant is infected, the Cordyceps causes it to climb up to the top of a plant . The ant then attaches its mandibles to the leaf or stem so it cannot move, and then simply waits to die. Eventually, the fungus grows out of the ant’s body, and releases spores into the air.
Another thing we wanted the answer to was; are there zombie ants in the genus Cordyceps?
One answer is that Cordyceps is a fungi genus that belongs to a group of fungi known as ascomycetes or such fungi. As such, they are characterized by a sac-like appendage that contains spores . Genus Cordyceps is made up of over 400 species of fungi, most of which exist as endoparasites.
Considering that infection by Ophiocordyceps unilateralis results in the death of the ant, any genetic mutation that increases its resistance to the fungus helps it survive.
How does Cordyceps infect other animals?
This one attacks a host, replaces its tissue, and sprouts ominous stems that grow outside of its body. These stems eventually release spores into the air, infecting other hosts. What’s even more interesting is that there are many different Cordyceps species, each for a separate species of insect. Ants have it particularly bad .
Certain species of Cordyceps, such as Ophiocordyceps unilateralis, can alter its host’s behavior. In this case, once the ant is infected , the Cordyceps causes it to climb up to the top of a plant.