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Current Affairs

Zombie flies

Date: 17 December 2020 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

Scientists have discovered new species of fungi that can infect flies while they are alive, making them similar to ‘zombies’.

 

Background

Fungi spores usually strive after the host is dead. In this case, the fungus tries to find new hosts while the host is still alive.

 

Details

  • Fungi species Strongwellsea tigrinae and Strongwellsea acerosa can be found in only two species of the Danish fly - Coenosia tigrina and Coenosia testacea.

  • Reportedly, the spores are ejected like small rockets from the fly’s body. The two new species of fungi survive on their hosts, until it dies.

  • The fungus starts consuming its genitals, followed by its fat reserves. Over time, it then absorbs its reproductive organs followed by muscle. 

  • It is unusual to keep the host alive while releasing spores, and is called active host transmission (AHT). Scientists believe it is effective in finding future hosts.

  • Scientists believe that the fungi produces doping substances which essentially turn their hosts into zombie, allowing them to live as the fungus feeds on their insides.

 

Zombies

A zombie is a mythological undead corporeal being created through the reanimation of a corpse. The term comes from Haitian folklore, in which a zombie is a dead body reanimated through various methods, most commonly magic.