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▶ Video by @anandavarma | This ant is infected with ophiocordyceps fungus. The beginning of the video shows the ant in…

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Video by @anandavarma | This ant is infected with ophiocordyceps fungus. The beginning of the video shows the ant in its last hours of life, twitching under the control of the mind-controlling parasitic fungus. The fungus made the ant crawl up the plant and bite down on the edge of the leaf. The fungus then kills the ant and bursts through the gaps in its joints. Finally, over the course of a week, the fungus sends its mushroom-like stalk out the back of the ant’s head. The whole purpose of this manipulation is so that the fungus can spread its spores more effectively. While we tend to think of parasites as "bad," they can play really important roles in their ecosystems. Just like predators are necessary for healthy food webs, so are parasites. On top of that, scientists estimate that parasites make up 30-50% of the animal biodiversity on the planet! Filmed at the Adolfo Ducke Forest Reserve near Manaus, Brazil.

These images and videos are part of my Invisible Wonders project. I love how photography can reveal the lives of secretive animals, magnify details that are too small to notice, and speed up or slow down processes that are barely perceptible to our naked eye. Capturing these hidden details reminds me there is always more to see when you pay close attention.



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