Jun 14, 2017 05:08 PM EDT
A kind of fungus is infecting female beetles up to the extent on their death, making them zombie beetles. However, the way to infect the males are unique, for the female zombie beetles will have to make love with the male.
A kind of fungus has an interesting way to spread infection using female beetles, Phys.org reported. With the combined efforts of two teams of researchers from the Cornell University and the University of Arkansas, the unique way of a fungus to infect the whole colony of beetles had been found.
According to IFLScience, the fungus will first kill the female beetle to serve as the host for the male. Then, the female zombie beetles will attract the male beetles to make love with them which may sound odd. The kind of parasitic fungus was present in the United States and is known as the Erniopsis lampyridarum.
When the fungus infected the female goldenrod soldier beetles and killing them, the corpses will then encourage the males to have sex with their dead bodies, thus spreading fungal infections. On the study of the two teams of researchers, they were able to find out that there are over 400 live and dead goldenrod soldier beetles and 20 percent of them had been infected by the fungus.
The single pose of the female zombie beetles gave clue to the researchers for being unusual. Thus, the researchers suspected that it's the way to attract the males while gripping tight to the top of the flowers. The flowers then provide the additional attraction for the female zombie beetles for most healthy male beetles look for food and mates.
While mating, the female zombie beetles will gradually transfer the spores as well as the spread of the fungus. The way that the fungus infects the female beetles making them zombies and spreading infection while making love with the males are just one kind of the thousand ways of spreading parasitic infections through high-jacking hosts.
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