Dear all, once again I must apologize for the day of absence from blogging. I have two excuses this time: 1) I did not want to put up a post for day 23, since 23 is cleary a very scary number (as Jim Carrey’s latest film tells us–which, btw, has nothing do to with the German film 23, which was actually, in contradistinction to Jim Carrey’s latest achievement, well, good) and 2) I was trying to finish a dissertation chapter.
I am still not quite done with the chapter, but it is all starting to look a little better than before. I still have to write about a bunch of stuff, including Alien, Blade Runner, V for Vendetta and The Matrix, as well as about several novels by Butler, Robinson and McCarthy, but I am seeing light at the end of the tunnel. I have, however, just finished writing a section on megolaponera foetens, the stink ant of the Cameroon of West Central Africa (picture above). Here the description of the problem I am highly interested in:
“On occasion one of these ants, while looking for food is infected by inhaling a microscopic spore from a fungus of the genus Tomentella. After being inhaled, the spore seats in the ant’s tiny brain and begins to grow, causing changes in the ant’s patterns of behavior. The Ant appears troubled and confused; for the first time in its life the ant leaves the forest floor and begins to climb.
Driven on by the growth of the fungus, the ant embarks on a long and exhaustive climb. Completely spent and having reached a prescribed height, the ant impales the plant with its mandibles. Thus affixed, the ant waits to die. Ants that have met their ends in this fashion are quite common in some sections of the forest.
The fungus continues to consume first the nerve cells and finally all the soft tissue that remains of the ant. After approximately two weeks a spike appears from what had been the head of the ant. This spike is about an inch and a half in length and has a bright orange tip heavy with spores which rain down onto the rain forest floor for other unsuspecting ants to inhale. “
I do enjoy the zoological equivalent to a Moebius Strip quite a bit. Also, I have no idea how I just changed the font. Can’t undo it. Interesting. But fancy! For more information on this insect please contact the Museum of Jurassic Technology (which also offers great research into “improbable folk remedies” such as “duck’s breath,” or “mice on toast.”
Am I losing it? What if IT was just a conspiracy of Enlightenment philosophy?