Researchers in West Virginia have recently seen the return of bizarre creatures called “zombie cicadas,” according to CBS News.
The cicadas are under the influence of a parasitic fungus called Massospora.
The fungus manipulates the insects to unknowingly infect other cicadas, rapidly transmitting the disease to create a zombie army of sorts, according to a study published in the journal PLOS Pathogens.
“Essentially, the cicadas are luring others into becoming infected because their healthy counterparts are interested in mating,” co-author Brian Lovett, a post-doctoral researcher with the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design, said in a press release this week.
But, there’s no need to be concerned about being infected by the zombies. Unlike murder hornets or mosquitoes, these zombie cicadas are generally harmless to humans, researchers said.
You can tell if the cicada has the fungus if you notice a white to yellowish plug on its back end. Lovett explained the cicadas are actually quite docile.
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