Fungi that influence ant behavior....

Eric Grunden egrunden at
Thu Jan 30 22:41:20 EST 1997

I saw a documentary a few years back that talked about a
tropical upper canopy fungus. It dropped its spores, some
of which landed on ants. Unexplainably, and for no apparant
reason, after a couple of weeks the ground-dwelling "infected"
ants climb to the top of a nearby tree, sink their mandibles
into a branch and then die. Then the fungus sprouts from
the dead ant and the process begins again. 

My question is;  how can a fungus trigger the specific
behavior of climbing the tree and sinking the mandibles in?
I could understand if it had different effects on each
ant (e.g. "insanity", spasms, etc.), but I do not understand
how it can cause specific actions to be carried out.
Any hyptheses?................

Anyone heard of this fungus or remember the documentary?

The Spirit of Nature, a powerful force,
	belongs and returns to its creative source.
- Excerpted from The Collective Works of Johnny Pokerface -

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