Here's a series of ink drawings outlining the effects of the fungus Cordyceps, specifically Ophiocordyceps Unilateralis, on a species of south american ants. May sound a little stuffy, i know, but actually is quite interesting and somewhat ominous and terrifying. Stop me if you've seen the episode of 'Planet Earth'...
1. A group of ants, probably Camponotus leonardi, making their way through the south american rain forest back to their lair.
2. An ant is infected by the spores of the fungal growth. the fungus grows out of the dead husk of another ant, grimly foreshadowing this ants future. The ant does not take the hint.
3. Once in, the fungus begins to consume the ants softer organs, as it simultaneously spreads itself to the ants brain and motor controls, assuming near complete control of the ants movements.
4. Finally, the fungus maneuvers the ant towards the nearest leaf, with a few oddly and incredibly specific guidelines: The leaf must be about 8 inches off the ground, the ant must bite down on the north side of the leaf, the environment must be between 94 and 95 percent humidity and the temperature must be between 68 and 84 degrees F. The Fungus finally kills the ant, once it's chomped the leaf.
Whew! That's one picky damn fungus. at least it knows how to get what it wants. Most of the information for these drawings was advised by the 'Scientific American' article linked at the top. Fascinating article and an amazing creature that brings up some very interesting questions. How did something like the Coryceps Fungus evolve to target these ants so specifically, and so devastatingly? I should also mention the the ants have evolved to recognize the symptoms of the fungal infection and they deal with it by carrying the infected member of the hive as far away from said hive as possible. Science, man.
See you space cowboy...