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‘Zombie cicadas’ discovered by West Virginia researchers

Researchers say bugs are missing part of their bodies

Zombie cicada
Zombie cicada (WBOY)

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Summer brings with it the sounds of cicadas.

In one part of the country, researchers have discovered what they’re calling zombie cicadas.

WBOY reports that the reason for the undead monster’s name comes from the fact that these cicadas are missing part of their bodies.

Despite that fact, they can still fly around, just like regular cicadas.

A zombie cicada is on the left, with a regular one on the right
A zombie cicada is on the left, with a regular one on the right (WBOY)

West Virginia University researchers think they’re only a small percent of the cicada populations and their zombie nature may be caused by a disease.

“I think it’d be really useful to understand these things because this is just one example of a fungal parasite that infects and insect and there are many others like it. If we kind of unlock what’s happening in this system, we can use it kind of as a model for understanding how these other fungi attack and kill insects,” said researcher Matt Kasson.

So far, researchers aren’t sure hot these insect initially become infected, but there is evidence that zombies can spread the disease to others.


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