Mutant Virus Takes Over Caterpillar Brain, Turns Caterpillar Into Black Goop

This story seriously sounds like something out of a science fiction novel.

When a gypsy moth caterpillar is infected with a baculovirus, several things happen. First, a gene called egt hijacks the caterpillar’s brain, causing them to engage in odd behavior. The gene causes the caterpillar to climb to the very top of the tree that they live on — by inactivating one of the caterpillar’s molting hormones.

Once the caterpillar is at the top of the tree, the virus spreads. Eventually, they become so virus-ridden that they die, liquify and turn into black goop. This goop is filled with live viruses, which rain down on gypsy moth caterpillars in the same tree, starting the cycle all over again.

So, this virus is smart enough to know that it can get maximum killing potential by causing the caterpillar to climb. I don’t know about you, but that’s just some really freaky science.


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