The habit of the horrifying parasite that makes female flies zombies and makes males 'necrophilia' revealed

It is known that some fungi that parasitize insects manipulate the ant's brain to kill them

at the host's convenience, and others turn flies into live spore-spraying drones. New research reveals that a fly parasite called Entomophthorales has the ability to spread the infection more reliably by mating and mating pheromones that seduce males from the dead bodies of infected females. Did.

A pathogenic fungus uses volatiles to entice male flies into fatal matings with infected female cadavers | bioRxiv

'Zombie' fungus turns insects into necrophiles using potent compounds | Daily Mail Online

A research team led by Andreas Naundrup, a chemical ecologist at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, conducted a study focusing on the fungus 'Entomophthora muscae' in a pre-reviewed paper published on the preprint server bioRxiv. Announced. In addition, 'Entomophthora' is a word made from 'entomo' which means an insect and 'phthora' which means a destroyer, and 'muscae' means a fly.


Hans Hillewaert

It has long been known that flies have the ability to induce the behavior of 'summit disease,' in which infected flies climb the tips of tree branches and die. It is speculated that this is due to the widespread dissemination of spores from the corpse by dying as high as possible.

A research team led by Naundrup and colleagues who was investigating the mechanism by which the infection of Entomophthorales spreads first gave healthy male houseflies 'dead females infected with Entomophthorales' and 'dead females not infected'. I observed the behavior. The results showed that male flies attempted to mate with carcasses of females infected with Entomophthorales significantly more often than carcasses of non-flies. Furthermore, when we focused on 'individuals that died in the early stages of infection' or 'individuals that died in the late stages of infection', we found that female carcasses that had been infected for some time were more popular with males. increase.

Of the following, the top two are photos of a male trying to mate with a female carcass infected with Entomophthorales, and the bottom left is a photo of a male trying to eat spores and a female carcass. In addition, the photograph of the male who is fluffing after contacting the dead female in the lower right shows that spores are firmly attached to the abdomen and legs of the male.

'Male flies are attracted to the carcasses of females infected with Entomophthorales and court and mate, which greatly increases the chances of infection and more reliably spreads the infection,' the research team said. ' conidiophores and dense physical contact occurs in the late stages of infection maturation of the proceeds, the probability of infection as compared to the early stage of infection will be higher' and explains. In fact, males who came into contact with females in the early stages of infection had a 15% chance of being infected with Entomophthorales, while 73% in the late stages of infection.

After confirming that male flies were attracted to the carcasses of fly-infected females, the researchers then used gas chromatography and mass spectrometry to look at the chemicals released from the carcasses of infected females. ..

As a result, it was confirmed that volatile chemical substances including sesquiterpenes were released from the carcasses of females infected with Entomophthorales. Sesquiterpenes have been known to attract bees, but their relationship with flies was unknown.

In the paper, the research team said, 'Since houseflies carry more than 100 types of diseases, it may be important to reduce the number of houseflies, such as in an unsanitary environment. It could lead to the development of attractants and pheromones that can be used to control pests in Japan. '

in Science,   Creature, Posted by log1l_ks