a The Last Of Us might be more realistic than you think. A fungus identical to the one in the series capable of infecting ants has already been identified. Recently, scientists have identified another parasitic backdoor that can attack and kill spiders.
According to The Guardian newspaper, it is a rare organism, with a purple color, capable of infecting invertebrates. It was discovered in the Atlantic Forest, in Brazil, in a specific species of spider, the trapdoor spider.
Despite some similarities, it is not clear to scientists that this virus controls the behavior of animals, as it does in the HBO series.
The discovery was made already in November 2022, during a trip by researchers to the forests in the northern part of Rio de Janeiro. A formal scientific description would be needed before it could be approved as a new species of fungus.
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“It infects trapdoor spiders and is one of the few Cordyceps species that has a purple color, which is an interesting feature,” explained mycologist Joao Araujo.
“We don’t know much about this group of fungi because it hasn’t been studied much. This type of fungus has only been identified a few times worldwide. This is probably the first time we’ve been sequencing a species like this in Brazil.”
This expedition brought together experts from the Royal Botanic Gardens, New York Botanical Garden and Rio de Janeiro Botanical Garden.
He continued, “Scientific work is required so that we may be able to search for new medicinal compounds or use them to protect against crop pests.”
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