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Foreboding Fruit
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📸 by @frankcanon_image_in

This weevil, infected with ophiocordyceps curculionum becomes a launchpad for the parasitoid fungus to self-propagate.

There are over 400 subspecies of this fungus (ophiocordyceps unilateralis) and each one targets a specific species of insect/anthropod.

Once it finds its preferred host, the newly released spores make short work of penetrating the exoskeleton and seizing control of the muscles of these hapless invertebrates.

It was previously believed that the fungus infected and took over the brain of the insect, which gave the fungus its nickname: the zombie fungus.

This was recently proven to be wrong.

With control of the motor functions now fully assumed by the malicious mycelium, the infected will seek out an elevated spot. When it finds one, the insect (in this case, Mr weevil here) will secure themselves to it and then slowly die.

While he waits, the fungus will feed off of the innards of the host until ready to fruit. Those large alien-looking branches jutting out of the weevil are the result of this fruiting and the spores are contained within the enlarged ends.

When these “fruit” rupture, the cordyceps spores will seek out and infect more weevils and do the same to them.

#natureismetal
#keepnaturemetal

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