The Phorid fly turns fire ants into zombies:
"...female phorid flies have developed a bizarre reproductive strategy: They hover over fire ants, then inject their eggs into the ants with a needle-like appendage. The egg grows and the resulting larva generally migrates to the ant's head. The larva lives there for weeks--slurping up the brain and turning the ant into a "zombie," in some cases compelling the ant to march 55 yards (50 meters) away from its colony to avoid attack by other fire ants. Finally, the baby fly decapitates its host and hatches, exiting through the ant's head...
Although the flies only kill a small fraction of ants this way, the ants seem to be so afraid of the flies that their mere presence prevents the ants from collecting food."
If I were a fire ant, I'd duck and cover, too. This shot (of the fly larvae emerging from a decapitated ant head) is probably the best one.Posted by eatingbark at September 18, 2009 3:07 PM