A diabolical virus turns a host into a zombie that walks blindly to its death...
A diabolical virus turns a host into a zombie that walks blindly to its death.
A viral infection that takes control of the host's body and forces it to march to certain death, this sounds like a zombie horror theme. However, it is a recently investigated mechanism of infection in the body of the black-banded cotton-belt butterfly
it has long been known that viruses belonging to the nucleopolyhedrovirus group are behind the death march. Already a century ago, researchers noticed that infected butterfly caterpillars behave strangely...
Some scientists suspected that these viruses manipulate their hosts to increase their chances of infecting other caterpillars, but only now have researchers discovered how this happens.
The described behavior of the caterpillars is due to phototaxis, i.e. the movement of the animal towards light, in nature, usually sunlight.
Experiments have confirmed that infected caterpillars are instinctively attracted to LED fluorescent lamps and try to move closer to the light source.
These viruses apparently forced the caterpillars to crave the light, forcing them to embark on a final march to the top, where the light is. But why do viruses do this?
Evolution by viruses
The explanation is simple: the higher the caterpillar dies, the greater the likelihood that the virus will spread further. This can happen by directly infecting another caterpillar, due to gravity and wind, or by making the light show the caterpillars, which are easily visible at the top.
friends, this essay is very long, tomorrow I will continue with the second part.
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