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Parasitic Love

Posted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 9:20 pm
by normsherman

Posted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 10:12 pm
by strawman
Isn't it interesting that humans are so fascinated by stuff like this, whilst at the same time they go about the rest of the day almost completely clueless about why they do the self-destructive things they do.
This situation literally begs for some human to stop, scratch his head (or some other body part, depending on gender) and cry out, "I wonder if some bug has made me do this?!"

Which thought would, we hope, be immediately followed by a desire to write it all out and get 1.5 cents a word from Norm for his trouble.

Drabblecast 74: it is revealed that the AIDS virus causes its victims to desire unprotected and promiscuous sexual encounters, in order to propagate... Wait a minute, that actually happens, doesn't it? Yeah, dibs on that vaccine.

Posted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 10:50 pm
by Mr. Tweedy
Well, if you're talking about people doing things thoughtlessly, for reasons unknown to themselves, that would probably encompass the majority of human behavior. Planting compulsions in the subconscious so that people will do stupid things that bring no benefit to themselves but bring benefit to the one planting the compulsion? That's what we call marketing.

Really, the question is what did the mommy wasp say to the caterpillar to convince it that it really wanted to be a food-slave? Probably something along the lines of "Dude caterpillars will think you're hot."

Posted: Thu Jun 12, 2008 5:17 am
by bolddeceiver
A parasitic wasp that forces loyalty in its host? I think J. Alan Pierce needs to get his lawyers to work filing a plagarism suit against reality...

Posted: Fri Jun 13, 2008 5:45 am
by bolddeceiver
OK, I just actually read the study, and I have to say, the creepiest part by far wasn't in any of the lay journalism I've seen so far. Here is is (emphasis is mine):

"The egression usually takes about 1 hour, and the caterpillars do not respond strongly to disturbance during egression, but only 1–2 hours after the event. This casts doubt on the role of the parasitoid larvae in the behavioural changes. However, when we dissected caterpillars from which parasitoids had egressed 3–4 days before, we found 1–2 active parasitoid larvae that had remained behind in the host.... We hypothesise that these parasitoid larvae are responsible for the changes in host behaviour.... If the parasitoid larvae of the system described here... stay behind to manipulate the host and do not pupate later, this would represent a cost of host manipulation: some offspring are sacrificed for higher survival of their kin. This hypothesis needs further investigation."

Also, there's video.

Posted: Fri Jun 13, 2008 7:17 am
by tastycakes
Poison Ivy, of Batman's rogues gallery (and those lame Skinemax very soft-porn flicks I thought were awesome in 7th grade), has been turning this trick for years.

Love Potion #9, anyone?

An ant infected with a Cordycep fungus

Posted: Wed Jul 09, 2008 1:51 pm
by strawman
Image
An ant infected with a Cordycep fungus. The parasite controls the ant, forcing it to climb high up a tree and attach itself to a branch. The bizarre behaviour, captured by Earthwatch volunteers in Malaysia, maximizes the distribution of the fungus spores when they emerge weeks later.

Just what makes that little old ant
Think he'll move that rubber tree plant?
Anyone knows an ant, cant
Move a rubber tree plant

But hes got Cordycep fungus, hes got Cordycep fungus
Hes got high apple pie, in his brain Cordycep fungus

Maybe this could go in the Super Animal Death Match as Manchuriant?

Posted: Wed Jul 09, 2008 6:37 pm
by adam
i saw a discovery thing on this fungus once- it's incredible. how the heck does a fungus use mind control?
but even more impressive to me, is that the ants have a quarantine protocol. when an infected ant latches onto a limb to let the fungus do its work, other ants will pry him off and run him as far away from the colony as possible so it doesn't spread.
nature never ceases to amaze me. that a little bug can effectively diagnose a "patient" without any prior experience in fungi, and handle the situation to save the whole colony.

Posted: Sun Jul 20, 2008 9:19 pm
by strawman
adam wrote:i saw a discovery thing on this fungus once- it's incredible. how the heck does a fungus use mind control?
but even more impressive to me, is that the ants have a quarantine protocol. when an infected ant latches onto a limb to let the fungus do its work, other ants will pry him off and run him as far away from the colony as possible so it doesn't spread.
nature never ceases to amaze me. that a little bug can effectively diagnose a "patient" without any prior experience in fungi, and handle the situation to save the whole colony.
That's smarter than the idiot humans could think of in Invasion of the Body Snatchers . You hafta admit humans have made huge advances in the past 50 years in responding to alien invasions. Except for Mexicans.

Posted: Thu Jul 31, 2008 4:10 pm
by strawman
Cordycep fungus appears in Canada!

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) - A man sleeping on a Greyhound bus as it rolled across the Canadian Prairies was killed and decapitated by his seatmate on Wednesday night, other passengers who were on the bus told media on Thursday.

"All of a sudden, we all heard this scream, this bloodcurdling scream," said Garnet Caton, who was sitting just in front of the victim, in an interview with CBC Television.

"The attacker was standing up right over top of the guy with a large hunting knife -- a survival, Rambo knife -- holding the guy and continually stabbing him, stabbing him, stabbing him in the chest area," Caton said.

The attack continued as other passengers fled the bus and waited for police on a desolated stretch of the TransCanada Highway near Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, said Caton, who helped bar the bus door to prevent the attacker from leaving.

"He calmly walks up to the front (of the bus) with the head in his hand and the knife and just calmly stares at us and drops the head right in front of us," Caton said.

"There was no rage in him ... It was just like he was a robot or something."

CBC reported the Royal Canadian Mounted Police took the attacker into custody, but the police have not yet commented.

(No word on whether anyone heard a sizzling sound or smelled something like Canadian bacon.)

Posted: Thu Jul 31, 2008 4:17 pm
by Mr. Tweedy
Those whacky Canadians.

Posted: Thu Jul 31, 2008 4:21 pm
by strawman
Whacky, whacky, whacky...