The zombies in "World War Z" are just actors — but in the animal world, zombies are a fact of life. Evolution can come up with some fiendish twists: For example, there are some species that bend other creatures to their will to keep their bizarre life cycles going. Or just to feast on their delicious braaaains.
To celebrate the premiere of "World War Z," here's a top-ten list of zombies from the animal kingdom, finishing up with a particularly pernicious parasite that can pose a risk to humans:
Zombie ants: There are special kinds of zombifying fungi that infect carpenter ants in Thailand and Brazil. The fungus grows into the ant's brain and compels it to climb down and clamp onto to the low leaves that provide the fungus with its favored breeding ground. After the ant dies, the fungus sprouts from its head and shoots out spores to infect other ants. But this zombie isn't invincible: Scientists recently discovered a different kind of fungus that can castrate the zombifying fungus before it spreads.
Zombie bees: A parasitic fly known as Apocephalus borealiscan inject its eggs into a honeybee's abdomen, where the fly larvae mature. The parasitized bees abandon their hives and walk in circles — but eventually they fall over. "It really painted a picture of something like a zombie," says San Francisco State University's Andrew Core. About seven days after infection, the mature larvae burst out from the dead bees' bodies, renewing the gruesome circle of life. It gets worse: The zombie bees are spreading.
Written By: Alan Boylecontinue to source article at cosmiclog.nbcnews.com