Parasite fungus sends insects on sex spree by loading them up on drugs | Innovation
Castration followed by involuntary simulated chemsex. That’s the fate that awaits cicadas infected by the Massospora fungus, according to researchers who discovered psychoactive compounds in fungal growths in the stricken insects.
Massospora infections are associated with “hypersexual” activity – including cases in which, for example, males may attempt to mate with other males. This appears to help spread the fungus to new hosts.
But the fungus makes these forays a miserable venture. When infected cicadas first try to mate, the end of their abdomens, including genitalia, are often pulled off. …