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Zombie Ants

If you think zombies are only on television and in the movies, think again. There are real live, well maybe not live, zombie ants. Dr. Biology learns the details of a nasty fungus and something called the "death grip" from biologist David Hughes. Listen in and be thankful you are not an ant.

Content Info | Transcript


MP3 download | 13MB

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Topic Time
Introduction. 00:00
What is a fungus? 01:01
The importance of fungi. 03:19
Relationships between organisms. 04:05
The zombie fungus. 04:29
The fungi eats the ants. 06:05
How specialized are the fungi? 06:40
How can ants avoid the fungus? 07:07
Other cases of fungus controlling animal behavior. 07:53
Mammal behavioral control. 09:00
How brain control can happen. 09:52
Could there be a fungus that could control humans? 10:20
Are zombie ants only in a certain part of the world? 11:47
Citizen science helped discover this species. 12:55
This fungus has a parasite of its own? 14:12
Flies and wasps are part of this fungus food web. 14:49
Applied uses of this research. 15:08
Plant village: citizen science and social networking. 17:12
Three questions. 19:26
When did you first know you wanted to be a biologist? 19:36
What helped you overcome challenges? 20:32
If you couldn't be a biologist, what would you be? 20:59
What advice to you have for someone who wants to become a biologist? 22:06
How did you do in math? 23:34
Sign off - Link to PLOSable companion story - Zombie Ants. 24:50

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Zombie Ants

Audio editor: CJ Kazilek

Zombie Ant

Zombie ant caught in its final death grip on a plant leaf. Read more about this topic in the PLOSable companion story - Zombie Ants.

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Be part of Ask A Biologist

by volunteering, or simply sending us feedback on the site. Scientists, teachers, writers, illustrators, and translators are all important to the program. If you are interested in helping with the website we have a Volunteer page to get the process started.

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Zombie Ant

Zombie ant caught in its final death grip on a plant leaf. Read more about this topic in the PLOSable companion story - Zombie Ants.

Share to Google Classroom

Be part of Ask A Biologist

by volunteering, or simply sending us feedback on the site. Scientists, teachers, writers, illustrators, and translators are all important to the program. If you are interested in helping with the website we have a Volunteer page to get the process started.