Wednesday, October 15, 2014

This month's National Geographic with a cover story and photo gallery on parasites

"Bird droppings gathered by the arboreal ant Cephalotes atratus to feed its larvae sometimes contain a hidden menace: the parasitic nematode Myrmeconema neotropicum. Once inside the ant, the nematode turns its host’s abdomen maroon, so that it mimics a ripe berry attractive to birds. To make its unwitting host even more enticing, the nematode induces the ant to walk with its abdomen raised: Come and eat me!"