While the thread of “Murder Hornets” may have been over-stated (at least for now) it seems 2020 still has some tricks up its sleeve for us. Another terrifying insect has emerged in West Virginia–one with an equally terrifying name. I’m talking now about “Zombie Cicadas”!
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While scary in appearance, cicadas can be terrifying to behold (looking like mutant grasshoppers on steroids!). But what the actual fuck is a “Zombie Cicada”? It’s not a new species; it’s a garden variety cicada that’s mind is being controlled by a parasitic fungus. Now that’s some real dread right there!
These insects, dubbed “zombie cicadas,” are under the influence of Massospora, a psychedelic fungus which contains chemicals such as those found in hallucinogenic mushrooms, according to a new study published by PLOS Pathogens. After infecting its host, the fungus results in “a disturbing display of B-horror movie proportions,” West Virginia University said in a press release.
The symptoms are ghastly! First, Massospora disintegrates that cicadas genitals, butt, and abdomen. Then, it stuffs the empty areas within the insect with fungus. Though their bodies are tattered, the cicadas continue to fly, eat, and mate (just like zombies” as though unaware of their terrifying predicament.
So how are cicadas becoming infected “Zombies”? It’s a sexually transmitted disease, of course!
While Massospora and similar fungi can’t infect humans (yet), it’s a terrifying thought to ponder–and not unlike the premise of The Last of Us.
What do you think about these poor “Zombie Cicadas”? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram! You can also carry on the convo with me personally on Twitter @josh_millican.