As if the COVID-19 pandemic and murder hornets (remember them?) weren’t enough, researchers fromWest Virginia Universitywarn that some of the millions of periodic cicadas emerging from hibernation in that state, as well as Virginia and North Carolina, may be infected with a fungus that turns them into sex-crazed zombies.
The fungus, called Massospora cicadina, invades the cicada and causes its abdomen to slide off, causing them to enter a zombie-like state, then driven to mate with anything they can find. Their efforts are in vain though, as the fungus has eaten away at their genitals.
The phenomenon has actually been going on for generations, but researchers only discovered it last year.
Scientists theorize the cicadas spend 13-17 years underground, depending on the species, to avoid synching up with predators. Then by descending in unison, the millions of clumsy, defenseless cicadas can overwhelm predators and stand a chance of survival.
One West Virginia University student has called the infected cicadas “flying salt shakers of death.”