Parasite Turns Ant into Bird Bait

From an original article
posted at

“When the ant Cephalotes atratus is infected with a parasitic nematode, its normally black abdomen turns red, resembling the many red berries in the tropical forest canopy. According to researchers, this is a strategy concocted by nematodes to entice birds to eat the normally unpalatable ant and spread the parasite in their droppings. (Steve Yanoviak/University of Arkansas)

Read the full article at


8 Responses to Parasite Turns Ant into Bird Bait

  1. Daldianus says:

    These parasites are really among the weirdest creatures!? Reminds me of the parasite that remote-controls a cockroach like a zombie. I don’t remember the exact name now though …

  2. Parasites are freaky! Insect morphology and nervous systems seem to be simple enough that other organisms can hijack them.

  3. Lisa says:

    If you look at it upside down it looks like a beetle carrying a berry.

  4. test

    Parasites occasionally change
    the behavior or looks of their
    host, but a nasty tropical
    nematode alters both, making
    its ant host’s parasite-
    filled abdomen resemble a
    ripe red berry. According to
    UC Berkeley and Univ. of
    Arkansas biologists, thi…

  5. Ashley says:

    Elephant shrew – new species of mammal discovered!

  6. mon@rch says:

    very interesting stuff here and love how the parasite adapts to survive! Found you through stumbleupon and I plan to return again soon!

  7. K. Rice says:

    Wow, how interesting. I once attended a lecture about a species of flatworm found in sharks… The levels of specification are unbelievable, as in this case.

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