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The Ant And The Parasite Berry

by | 21st, January 2008

berry-ant.jpgNATURE adapts:

To perpetuate its life cycle, a newly identified parasite morphs its ant victims to such a degree that the infected ants resemble red, ripe juicy berries that birds are more inclined to pick, according to the University of California at Berkeley.

Eggs from the parasite then pass through the unwitting birds when they defecate. Ants consume the waste, become infected, and the whole cycle starts anew.

The transformation from black ant to red berry form represents the world’s first known example of fruit mimicry caused by a parasite. In this case, the victimizer is a parasitic nematode, or roundworm.

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Posted: 21st, January 2008 | In: Strange But True Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink