…well we’re not talking about normal zombies. For our first episode as a one year old podcast (and for halloween), we are talking about insects and how their relationships with parasitic organisms turn them into zombies.
Most notably, we talk about the cordyceps fungus that highjacks the ants and other insects forcing them to climb into the canopy where their last deed is to clamp their mouthparts tightly onto a leaf or branch. It is there that they finally die and the fruiting body of the fungus bursts from their head. This fungus then releases its spores into the forest to infect the next unsuspecting vicim.
After this, we move on to some other crazy parasites that take over their hosts brain to make them into bodyguards, lure them into their lair, and generally make it easier for the parasite to reproduce and create more zombies. There won’t be much mindless moaning or the usual brain eating, but these stories are still amazing and pretty creepy.
Additionally, if you are looking for an interesting halloween read involving zombies definitely check out The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey. Also stay tuned for halloween where we will be releasing another episode dedicated to things that go bump in the night!
Happy October and one year anniversary of Bugs & Stuff podcast. We hope you have enjoyed hearing us talk about the science we love.