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The scars are becoming infected with a fungus that makes them zombies



Cicada succumb to a parasitic infection that basically turns them into zombies. The fungus known scientifically as Massospora has been infecting male scars for years, according to a PLOS Pathogens newspaper as reported by LiveScience. But it doesn’t end there. Like an army of zombies, male scar zombies begin to work to increase their numbers by attracting other male cicadas with a flicker bore movement traditionally used by female cicadas to attract male companions.

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When uninfected male scars attempt to mate with the infected scar after daring, the Massospora transfers and begins to infect the new scar by eating into its abdomen. It replaces the abdomen by itself, which looks like a cluster of yellow spores.

Apparently it is not easy to detect this zombie-like transformation, as the normally infected scars are of the genus Magicicada, which spend up to 17 years of their life underground at the same time. Fortunately, for the scientists behind the PLOS pathogen report, they are able to track different populations of scars that arise at different times over a cycle of years.

Once the abdomen transforms into a mass of spores, the now zombified scar will fly and drop the spores to further infect the gum. As for how Massospora controls this flight of falling spores and the mating call that occurs after infection, scientists still don’t know what chemicals the fungus is producing.An uninfected cigar life after emerging from the field years and years after birth would usually only last a few weeks. They combine, lay eggs and then die. When they are infected by Massospora, their life is prolonged, but considering they are zombies right now, it is not really alive.

If you’re clamoring for zombie-like science, read the information on how scientists resurrect underwater life forms of 100 million years. After that, read about how a bionic moon jellyfish created by scientists was created earlier this year.

Wesley LeBlanc is a freelance news writer and freelance guide for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter @LeBlancWes.




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