Possibly Safe For Breakfast (PSFB)

Some people worry about linking to things not appropriate for minors or for viewing at work. Science journalist Carl Zimmer only worries about his readers losing their appetite and perhaps their cookies while viewing a video of another of his parasitic luminaries.

Thanks to PZ Myers for calling attention to this superb video of Corydceps, a parasitic fungus that drives its insect host up a plant before growing a spike out of its head. Leave it to David Attenborough, master of the nature documentary, to bring the beauty of this parasite to video. I’ve seen photographs of Cordyceps before, but I never knew it made such a graceful entrance.

What’s particularly cool about Cordyceps is that it is not alone. Other parasites drive their hosts to bizarre heights. Another fungus, called Entomophthora muscae, drives houseflies and other insects upwards, climbing screen doors in some cases, before springing out of its host’s body.

Although I’m not going to be snacking for a while, I will recommend popping over to Carl’s blog for an educational, safe for work, iffy for breakfast video.

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