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Cordyceps infected ant corpse Cordyceps infected ant corpse

Cordyceps infected ant corpse

The cordyceps fungus attacks the ant’s exoskeleton, infects the ant’s body, then its brain.  This brain infection causes the ant to climb the rainforest vegetation until it dies at a height above the forest floor, providing a biological advantage for the spread of the fungal spores. 

This family of fungi is also of great medical interest: providing metabolites such as Cyclosporin A, an immunosuppressive drug used in organ transplantation.

© Arabella Mercer
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