"In a bizarre parasitic death sentence, a fungus turns carpenter ants into the walking dead and gets them to die in a spot that's perfect for the fungus to grow and reproduce.
Scientists have no clue how the fungus takes control of the brains of ants so effectively. But a new study in the September issue of the American Naturalist reveals an incredible set of strategies that ensue.
The carpenter ants nest high in the canopy of a forest in Thailand, and they trek to the forest floor to forage. The fungus, Ophiocordyceps unilateralis, prefers to end up on the undersides leaves sprouting from the northwest side of plants that grow on the forest floor, the new study showed. That's where temperature, humidity and sunlight are ideal for the fungus to grow and reproduce and infect more ants."
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