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

  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},
  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

It is found that infected ants behave as zombies and display predictable stereotypical behaviors of random rather than directional walking, and of repeated convulsions that make them fall down and thus precludes returning to the canopy, and that the mandibles of ants penetrate deeply into vein tissue and that this is accompanied by extensive atrophy of the mandibular muscles.

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.



Parasite‐Induced Fruit Mimicry in a Tropical Canopy Ant

Dramatic changes in the appearance and behavior of nematode‐parasitized ants are reported such that they resemble ripe fruits in the tropical rain forest canopy, the first documentation of parasites causing apparent fruit mimicry in an animal host to complete their life cycle.

A parasitic fungus infecting yellow dungflies manipulates host perching behaviour

  • D. Maitland
  • Biology
    Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences
  • 1994
In yellow dungflies, E. muscae directly manipulates host perching behaviour causing infected dung flies to perch abnormally in a highly specific manner, designed to meet the fungus’s requirements for efficient spore dispersal and host infection.

Do hairworms (Nematomorpha) manipulate the water seeking behaviour of their terrestrial hosts?

Results clearly indicate that crickets infected by the nematomorph Paragordius tricuspidatus are more likely to jump into water than uninfected ones and the idea that this manipulation involved water detection from long distances by infected insects is not supported.

Graveyards on the Move: The Spatio-Temporal Distribution of Dead Ophiocordyceps-Infected Ants

It is discovered that the principal host ant builds nests in high canopy and its trails only occasionally descend to the forest floor where infection occurs, advancing the hypothesis that rare descents may be a function of limited canopy access to tree crowns and that resource profitability of such trees is potentially traded off against the risk of losing workers due to infection when forest floor trails are the only access routes.

Parasitoid Increases Survival of Its Pupae by Inducing Hosts to Fight Predators

It is shown that braconid parasitoids induce their caterpillar host (Thyrinteina leucocerae) to behave as a bodyguard of the parasitoid pupae, and the presence of bodyguard hosts resulted in a two-fold reduction in mortality of parasitoidal pupae.

‘Suicide’ of crickets harbouring hairworms: a proteomics investigation

Proteomics tools are used to identify the biochemical alterations that occur in the head of the cricket Nemobius sylvestris when it is driven to water by the hairworm Paragordius tricuspidatus and it is found that the parasite produces molecules from the Wnt family that may act directly on the development of the central nervous system (CNS).

Bizarre interactions and endgames: entomopathogenic fungi and their arthropod hosts.

Examples of host-altered behavior are reviewed and the range of altered behaviors exhibited by invertebrates including behaviorally induced fever, elevation seeking, reduced or increased activity, reduced response to semiochemicals, and changes in reproductive behavior are considered.

Clavicipitalean Fungi: evolutionary biology, chemistry, biocontrol and cultural impacts.

A Taxonomic Review of the Clavicipitaceous Anamorphs Parasitizing Nematodes and Other Microinvertebrates and Processes of Species Evolution in EpichloA"/Neotyphodium Endophytes of Grasses.

Parasitism: The Ecology and Evolution of Intimate Interactions

Claude Combes explores the fascinating adaptations parasites have developed through their intimate interactions with their hosts with a section on the community ecology of parasites and their role in the evolution of their hosts.

"Adaptive" changes in the behaviour of parasitized animals: a critical review.

  • R. Poulin
  • Biology
    International journal for parasitology
  • 1995