Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Fascinating with a High Ick Factor

Zombie Insects!
There is a virus that attacks gypsy moth caterpillars and forces them to behave in a self-destructive manner. A healthy moth moseys out onto the leaves to munch during the night and wanders back into the main area of the tree during the day so as not to get eaten.  Once the virus gets its claws into the critters they not only stay on the leaves during the day, they climb as high on the tree as they can get.  How does this fulfill the virus' nefarious plan?  By the time the caterpillar manages to get pretty high it's just a virus with legs.  Then the legs go, the 'pillar disintegrates and the virus makes its way down the tree to land upon a plethora of potential hosts. Yikes. On the other hand, gypsy moths are seriously destructive when it comes to Americas hardwood trees.  I don't know wish the virus on other animals so I'm not saying it's karma, but ...

Source: Zombie Insects, by Kuehment, Anna
Scientific American, Nov2011, Vol. 305 Issue 5, p22-22
as accessed through EBSCOhost.  DMPL card and PIN required for access.

1 comment:

cboy is back! said...

Cool! And very Halloween-y!