WVU team unearths manipulative qualities of fungal-infected flyers.
Mind games aren’t exclusive to humans. Cicadas infected with the parasitic fungus Massospora unknowingly engage in trickery with their fellow insects, resulting in effective disease transmission, according to West Virginia University-led research.
Massospora manipulates male cicadas into flicking their wings like females – a mating invitation – which tempts unsuspecting male cicadas and infects them.
It’s a recent discovery into the bizarre world of cicadas plagued by a psychedelic fungus that contains chemicals including those found in hallucinogenic mushrooms. The research, “Behavioral betrayal: How select fungal parasites enlist living insects to do their bidding,” was published in the journal PLOS Pathogens.
Continue reading at West Virginia University
Image via West Virginia University