The Living Dead Walk Among Us
Tuesday, May 19, 2009 | Author: eventer79
So, in my efforts to waste time by labeling my posts, I created the label "zombies" because, hell, it's funny and it actually applied to one whole post. Never did I dream I would get to use it again. Guess what, I get to use it again.

I worked in Gulf Coast Texas for a while. It's somewhat like living in America's armpit and part of the pleasure is dealing with invasive fire ants. Why can't THEY be endangered?? These ants can skeletonize a trapped small animal in 12 hours and can make a calm person rip off all their clothes and run screaming across the prairie. They are steadily spreading their range across the US and have made it as far north as at least Virginia. They are murder on ground nesting birds like quail and prairie chickens and can even do serious damage to fawns and other mammals who may not be able to rise and run quickly away. Hopes of eradication: slim to none.

But there is one critter who may subdue these rapacious little invaders. Phorid flies (left, hovering above fire ant) have been released with some succes in FL and now TX. These defenders of the realm inject their eggs into the ants and the larvae move to the ant's head as they develop. There, they devour its brain and then gain control of the body (I swear this is true, nature is freaking awesome). They make the body walk away from the other ants into a dark, damp location where they can then pop the ant's head off without fear of attack (right) and emerge.

While this will not make fire ants go away, the ants live in holy terror of having their heads drop off. Thus their activites are much subdued (wouldn't yours be??) and they are far more inclined to stay underground and leave things the $*@& alone.

So I say hooray for zombie-making flies -- I don't know about you, but I've been swarmed by fire ants and it is NOT an experience I care to repeat. I believe that new curse words were invented at that time. I don't condone enjoyment in animal pain or suffering, but you know what? I'd pay money to watch the heads of fire ants pop off after their brains are devoured. So there.
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On May 19, 2009 at 2:59 PM , Belgian-Mom said...

Hey, I saw a show about this the other night. Gotta love Animal Planet. Amazing. I think it's somewhat like the fly predators many people use around their barns. Only I think thy just emerge and split the host body wide open. Cool.

On May 19, 2009 at 3:57 PM , lifeshighway said...

Would make a great movie for the Sci-Fi channel. Heck they have gone through every other topic.

Awesome picture of the fly erupting out of the fire ant's head. Hope I can sleep tonight.

On May 19, 2009 at 4:10 PM , eventer79 said...

Just don't let any bugs land on your head...