The zombie apocalypse is only a matter of time, but that time may be closer than we'd like as more is discovered about one of science's most curious and potentially destructive creatures in the animal kingdom: zombie ants. Adding panic to an already growing fear, there are two kinds, if not infinitely more on their way, of zombie ants.
ZOMBIE ANT #1 - FIRE ANTS
In South America, the fire ant is subject to becoming a "zombie" once female phorid flies essentially rape them and implant eggs into their bodies. The larvae eventually move to the head where it lives for weeks and can control the ant's body, often moving it away from its colony to wreck havoc on the ecosystem elsewhere. Once the larvae has had enough of the ant's brain matter, it hatches, destroying the head and moves on to god-know-where to rape some other ant.
But if a fly can control an ant like that, WHAT ELSE COULD IT CONTROL? Perhaps we shouldn't be afraid of zombie ants but a phorid fly larvae feasting on our brain matter until it matures enough to blow a hole in our heads.
ZOMBIE ANT #2 - THE CARPENTER ANT
Back at home in the U.S. carpenter ants suffer from a less visible foe: the deadly Cordyceps unilateralis fungi whose spores invade the ant's body and release a toxin that controls the ant's actions while slowly eating away the ant's innards. While in control of the ant, the fungus forces the ant to location where the fungus will more easily grow, perhaps HUMANITY?
In a MSNBC.com article, Harvard University's David P. Hughes described the process: "The fungus accurately manipulates the infected ants into dying where the parasite prefers to be, by making the ants travel a long way during the last hours of their lives." See? "Travel a long way?" Note this isn't some crackpot from a community college, but Harvard.
'Ol Brainiac continued: "The fungus has evolved a suite of novel strategies to retain possession of its precious resource." HOLY SHIT!! A "suite of novel strategies to retain possession of its precious resource?" Does anybody know what that means? Please tell me, because it fucking terrifies me! Oh wait, I do know what it means: WE ARE DOOMED.
Fungus isn't your buddy, and can't be reasoned with. You can't buy fungus a beer and ask it not to fuck you up. All it knows is HOW TO SURVIVE.
Those thinking that this is just paranoia, take heed: the virus may have already reached human populations. Traffic signs warning of a zombie attack surfaced in Gainesville, Florida, just this week displaying "Zombie Attack!! Evacuate." Meanwhile, in New York, a man has had to sublet his apartment after being "bit by a zombie". This is in New york City where people only move out of their apartments when they die!
Clearly, this is the work of the zombie ant, or perhaps, its unintended offspring, the phorid fly. Stay alert. Seal your food in air-tight containers, avoid picnics, and buy as much inspect spray as you can.