Jul 21, 2009

Phorid Horror

There are many ways to enter this humble world of ours. Some are more dramatic than others, but not many can surpass the entrance of a young phorid fly for sheer triumphant drama.

In this sequence of photos (via National Geographic) you'll see a female phorid fly hovering over a fire ant, who gets pierced by her needle-sharp ovipositor. The egg now planted inside the ant will soon hatch, and the larva will migrate to the ant's head, where, over the course of a few weeks, it will suck up the ant's brain. What is left of the ant after all this? A zombie ant, of course.

The phorid fly larva then commandeers the ant, and can even force it to wander away from the ant hive to protect the ant from the other ants who might begin to get suspicious of the zombie ant. Once in seclusion, the larva pops off the ant's head and proceeds to emerge. How's that for drama? The insect world provides us with horror stories better than most human minds can conceive.

Thanks for the article, Moneca.





5 comments:

Deaf Indian Muslim Anarchist! said...

morbidly fascinating...

Joe Lapp said...

Might want to mention that this is our most effective means of controlling fire ants here in the states. The phorid flies don't kill all that many fire ants, but the fire ants are so afraid of them that they spend less time foraging and are less aggressive in their attacks. It's supposed to help fire ants be less of a problem and give other ants more opportunity to compete. Phorid flies being released in the U.S. only target the Red Imported Fire Ant (Solenopsis invicta).

linty said...

Wow...this is the reason I keep coming back to this blog.

Keera Ann Fox said...

Zombie ants. Just when I thought this planet couldn't get any weirder…

(Thanks for the interesting story!)

Anonymous said...

Not even Stephen King can beat nature in sheer horror.