Mind-controlling fungus makes zombie cicadas lure other cicadas to a zombie fate

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Male cicadas infected by a particularly gruesome parasitic fungus become zombies with an undercover mission: They broadcast a female’s sexy come-hither message to other male cicadas, luring their unsuspecting victims to join the zombie cicada horde.

Researchers recently discovered this unusual twist to the cicada’s already horrific zombification story. As the parasitic fungus called Massospora eats away at a cicada’s abdomen, replacing it with a mass of yellow spores, the fungus also compels males to flick their wings in movements that are typically performed by females to attract mates.



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