Horrifying video shows caterpillar infected by ‘zombie’ fungus from The Last of Us growing FIVE TIMES bigger than insect
The terrifying fungus that turns people into zombies in HBO’s The Last of Us was found to infect a caterpillar, eat its guts and grow out of its head.
The gruesome scene was shared in a new video, which shows the fungus growing five times longer than the insect.
Caterpillars that live underground easily fall victim to the fungus that enters their bodies after molting their skin.
While the mummified fungus-infected insect may look obscene, it’s worth three times its weight in gold.
The rare hybrid is known for its anti-aging properties, eliminating diabetes and acting like Viagra – and some people pay upwards of $63.00 a pound for it.
A video shows a mummified caterpillar in a glass tube. Look a little further and you will see mold sprouting from its head
The cordyceps that infect caterpillars are known as ophiocordyceps sinensis and are mainly found in pastures on the Tibetan Plateau in Tibet and the Himalayan regions of Bhutan and Nepal.
And these cordyceps are the cousin of the fungus in The Last of Us, going from infecting ants to turning humans into a zombie-like state. There are 600 different species under the cordyceps family.
The caterpillar-infecting fungus lies underground for its next victim. Chemicals on the caterpillar’s skin interact with the fungal spores and release the fungal mycelia, infecting the caterpillar.
The spores grow inside the caterpillars and fill the body with filaments.
When the caterpillar dies, the fungus produces a stalked fruiting body that extends from the ground, allowing the wind to carry its spores to the next generation of caterpillars.
The video shows a mummified caterpillar in a glass tube, part of the collection of the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology.
The narrator explains that the fungus infected the insect, which feasted on its guts and then sprouted from its head.
Caterpillar fungus has long been part of traditional Asian medicine, as people believe it promises energy, stronger immunity and even a cure for cancer.
These cordyceps are the cousin of the fungus in The Last of Us (pictured), going from infecting ants to turning humans into a zombie-like state
The gruesome scene was shared in a new video, which shows the fungus growing five times longer than the insect
And the use of the caterpillar fungus is said to have started a thousand years ago.
The creepy hybrid is nicknamed ‘Himalaya Viagra’ in Asia, where it is seen as a panacea. It is considered a highly valued “miracle drug” in China and is often used by companies and individuals to bribe government officials.
While it has no scientifically proven benefits, people who cook the fungus to add to stews and teas believe it cures everything from impotence to cancer.
The price of the caterpillar fungus called ‘yarchagumba’ has skyrocketed in recent years due to its scarcity and huge market demand. The caterpillar fungus is now worth $5 billion to $11 billion.