Scientists have found two new species of fungi in the Capital Region of Denmark that eat up two Danish fly species from the inside over a period of time. Through this the fungi manages to turn its host in a zombie-like state till it meets its end.
A study has been conducted by researchers from the University of Copenhagen and the Natural History Museum of Denmark, which highlights two new species of fungi: Strongwellsea tigrinae and Strongwellsea acerosa. Upon infection, the fungi eat up their host from the inside, creating a large hole in their abdomen.
The parasite feeds off from its host like this for days until the fly finally dies. During this infection the fungi releases its spores into the air from within the abdomen hole.
“It is fascinating how the life cycles of these fungi are so well adapted to the lives of the flies they target,” says Professor Jørgen Eilenberg of the Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences as quoted in a university release. “In and of itself, this mapping of new and unknown biodiversity is valuable. But at the same time, this is basic new knowledge that can serve as a basis for experimental studies of infection pathways and the bioactive substances involved.”