Zombie Caterpillars?? Yes!
Zombie Thursdays is a weekly feature with guest blogger, Miranda. You can read more about her here.
Happy Thursday! Today's blog is compliments of Alicia who shared this gem of an article on the Twitters. We both decided it was blog worthy, so here you go!
You may remember me posting at the start of the summer about a zombie ant fungus... well guess what! There is now a virus that turns caterpillars into zombies! You read that correctly. A virus. It creates zombie caterpillars. Mind = Blown.
According to this article on National Geographic, the virus infects the host caterpillar and reprograms its brain. Normally, the caterpillar will go to the tops of trees to feed during the day, but will then climb down at night to hide. Unfortunately for these poor infected little guys, the virus makes them stay up in the treetops all night where eventually their bodies become so infected and decayed that they die and turn to mush. There, from their high vantage point in the trees, the liquified bodies trip down onto the lower trees and floor and infect MORE caterpillars. Mad genius!
So, what does this mean for humans? Well... for right now, not much (other than it is a bit creepy). This virus, a baculovirus, only infects invertebrates. So, no danger in a human catching it... for now. As we know, viruses are incredibly clever and are constantly adapting and changing. Could it be a matter of time before this virus begins to infect humans? Mankind has already experienced a number of viruses that have crossed over lines to make us sick. Again, the zombie apocalypse may be closer than you think!
Who wants to go see Contagion this weekend? It's sure to be a heartwarming film about viral outbreaks... I just wish there were zombies in it instead of sick people.