Zombie caterpillars!! Scientists isolate gene that liquifies bug and kills pals
Scientists at Penn State University have discovered the gene that turns these darling little multipeds into liquefying monsters that rain death upon all their caterpillar brethren. That gene is the nefarious Baculovirus.
Writing in the journal Science, Penn State entomologist Kelli Hoover says of the gypsy moth caterpillar, "When they are infected (with Baculovirus), as they get sicker they stay up in the trees and die up there. There are other genes in the virus that then make the caterpillar melt. So it becomes a pool of millions of virus particles that end up dropping onto the foliage below where it can infect other moths that eat those leaves."
This is not the first bug that turns into a zombie either. Scientists have previously a parasite that turns ants into zombies.