Fungus that chose Ants Brain to grow by rupturing Ant’s Head: Ophiocordyceps unilateralis

Ants are amazing creature and known for various reason like they can suicide when it comes to protect their colony. They can do farming and grow Fungus for their food. But in nature ants are also not safe.

If fungus grows in human head by rupturing it then this will be the most horrible thing that we can assume. But this weird thing can be happen with ants belong to the Camponotini  tribe live in tropical rain forest trees by fungus known as Ophiocordyceps unilateralis. This fungus belongs to entomopathogenic fungus family that can act as a parasite of insects and kills or badly disables them. But in this case it kills the Camponotus leonardi ant.

Ophiocordyceps unilateralis

When ant infected with fungus then Fungus alter the behavior of ant .Infected ant leave the foraging trails and never come to their canopy nest. Fungus rule on ant’s brain and compel ant to reach at particular place which is suitable for the growth of fungus in forest. When ant reach at place where temperature and humidity is appropriate for fungus. Ants climb 25 cm above the tree and select the leaf where humidity is 94 to 95 percent and temperatures is between 20 and 30 degrees Celsius. When ant gets the desire leaf according to fungus then they attach their bodies on the underside of a leaf by using their mandibles (ant mouth part) where ant stays until its eventual death. The whole process takes 4 to 10 days. In this time period fungus spores grow by rupturing ants head .


This fungus can ruin all colony of ants but its impact on ant populations is limited because this fungus also susceptible to fungal infection that limit its effect. Healthy ants have the ability to sense the effected ant and they carry dying ant far away from the canopy nest to avoid infection. Infected ant often fall on ground and loose ability to find their way.This fungus mainly effect the ants that live in tropical forests of Thailand and part of the Brazilian rain forests.