It’s the stuff made for science fiction and straight of horror. Imagine a body eating, mind control, zombie-like monster and you’ll probably have one of the more horrifying costumes this Halloween!
But, guess what? This isn’t science fiction – it’s real life! There exist certain types of fungi that have evolved to reproduce straight from the bodies of specific insects.
The most well-known fungus that does this is known as Cordyceps, a fungus found mainly in jungle environments. There are over 400 known species of Cordyceps that have been discovered. What makes the strains even more unique is that they each specialize in infecting a particular species of insect.
Once the spores have successfully infected a host, the mycelium begins to spread throughout the body. Quite remarkably, the fungus even takes over brain of the insect and will eventually be able to CONTROL it. Towards the end of its life – the fungus will force the insect to climb to a high point and latch on to foliage – where it dies. From its body sprouts mushrooms – a horrifying mark of the infected zombie insect.
Not to worry though, Cordyceps is harmless to humans! While insects should be shaking in their exoskeletons, you can rest easy and watch another round of Twilight Zone episodes in peace.
Want something not scary, but scrumptious?
Pick up one of our Oyster mushroom kits today. We promise they are healthy – not horrifying, delicious as opposed to dastardly, and the most fun you’ll have with an experiment outside of being Dr. Frankenstein. Happy Halloween!