The Life of a Dead Ant: The Expression of an Adaptive Extended Phenotype

@article{Andersen2009TheLO,
  title={The Life of a Dead Ant: The Expression of an Adaptive Extended Phenotype},
  author={Sandra Breum Andersen and Sylvia Gerritsma and Kalsum M. Yusah and David Mayntz and Nigel L. Hywel-Jones and Johan P. J. Billen and Jacobus J. Boomsma and David P Hughes},
  journal={The American Naturalist},
  year={2009},
  volume={174},
  pages={424 - 433}
}
Specialized parasites are expected to express complex adaptations to their hosts. [] Key Result Dead ants were found under leaves, attached by their mandibles, on the northern side of saplings approximately 25 cm above the soil, where temperature and humidity conditions were optimal for fungal growth. Experimental relocation confirmed that parasite fitness was lower outside this manipulative zone. Host resources were rapidly colonized and further secured by extensive internal structuring.

Behavioral mechanisms and morphological symptoms of zombie ants dying from fungal infection

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Disease Dynamics in a Specialized Parasite of Ant Societies

It is discussed how tropical habitats with high biodiversity of hyperparasites and high spore mortality has likely been crucial for the evolution and maintenance of iteroparity in parasites with low dispersal potential.

Specialist and Generalist Fungal Parasites Induce Distinct Biochemical Changes in the Mandible Muscles of Their Host

This study provides a comprehensive metabolic approach for understanding the interactions, at the level of host muscles, between healthy ants and fungal parasites.

Understanding Ophiocordyceps, The Zombie Ant Fungus: A Case Study In Host Behavioral Manipulation

Together, these studies of transmission and host selectivity provide insights into the evolution of both behavioral manipulation and host specificity that help understand and model potential zoonotic diseases of humans.

Evidence for convergent evolution of host parasitic manipulation in response to environmental conditions

It is shown that the fungal development in temperate forest is longer than the period of time leaves are present and the ants are manipulated to bite twigs, suggesting that changes in environmental conditions have shaped the manipulative behavior of the host by its parasite.

Evaluating the tradeoffs of a generalist parasitoid fungus, Ophiocordyceps unilateralis, on different sympatric ant hosts

Results showed that the height from the ground to the leaf where the infected ants grip on, perithecia-forming ability, and growth rate of the stroma of the parasitoid fungus were dissimilar on different host species.

From behavior to mechanisms: an integrative approach to the manipulation by a parasitic fungus (Ophiocordyceps unilateralis s.l.) of its host ants (Camponotus spp.).

This work advocates for an integrative approach using the parasitic fungi of the genus Ophiocordyceps that induce an adaptive biting behavior in Camponotus ants as an example, and emphasizes the use of behavioral assays under controlled laboratory conditions and the need to approach colonizing parasites as organizations with a division of labor.

Species-specific ant brain manipulation by a specialized fungal parasite

The integrative work presented here shows that ant brain manipulation by O. unilateralis s.l. is species-specific seemingly because the fungus produces a specific array of compounds as a reaction to the presence of the host brain it has evolved to manipulate.
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