The fungus turns its victims into “zombies”. It appears in Polish forests

The fungus turns its victims into "zombies".  It appears in Polish forests

Few people know that there is a fascinating fungus in Poland, which is commonly said to turn its victims into “zombies”. What is behind this term?

We learn about the fungus from the entry of the State Forests, which shared a curiosity on Twitter. “You know the mushroom that turns ants into ‘zombies’? In Poland we will meet his no less interesting cousin. Ophiocordyceps ditmarii parasitizes hymenoptera – it infects, develops in the victim’s body, and after its death grows (e.g. from the head) to release spores” – we read in the post. The pictures show the effects of the fungus.


In the discussion under the post, the profile administrator confirmed the information of one of the Internet users who wrote that according to the Polish nomenclature, the mushroom is called “maczużnik”. “The Polish genus »maczużnik« is Cordyceps – which in the past also included O. ditmarii mentioned in the tweet. As a result of molecular research, a new family was isolated and a new genus within it – Ophiocordyceps” – it was written.

Is there a chance to meet a mushroom during your wanderings in the forest? According to the person running the State Forests profile – yes. Enough “a lot of luck and a good eye”. “This is a relatively rare fungus, small, not found on a specific substrate like mycorrhizal, saprotrophic or plant-related parasitic fungi – and where the wasp will sit is hard to predict” – explained.

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