Revolting video shows caterpillar infected by ‘zombie’ fungus from The Last of Us that grew FIVE TIMES larger than the insect
The terrifying fungus that transforms humans into zombies in HBO‘s The Last of Us was found to infect a caterpillar, eating its insides and growing out of its head.
The gruesome scene was shared in a new video, showing the fungus grew five times longer than the insect.
Caterpillars living underground easily fall victim to the fungus that infiltrates their body after shedding their skin.
While the mummified, fungal-infected insect may look obscene, it is worth three times its weight in gold.
The rare hybrid is known for its anti-aging properties, eliminating diabetes and acting as a Viagra – and some people pay more than $63,00 per pound for it.
A video shows a mummified caterpillar inside a glass tube. A look further and you can see fungus sprouting from its head
The cordyceps that infect caterpillars are known as ophiocordyceps sinensis and are primarily found in meadows in the Tibetan Plateau in Tibet and the Himalayan regions of Bhutan and Nepal.
And these cordyceps are the cousin to the fungus in The Last of Us, which goes 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, filling its body with filaments.
When the caterpillar dies, the fungus produces a stalked fruiting body that reaches out from the ground, allowing the wind to carry its spores to the next generation of caterpillars.
The video shows a mummified caterpillar inside a glass tube, part of the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology’s collection.
The narrator explains the fungus infected the insect, which feasted on its insides and then sprouted from its head.
Caterpillar fungus has long been a part of traditional Asian medicine, as people believe it promises energy, stronger immunity and even a cure for cancer.
These cordyceps are the cousin to the fungus in The Last of Us (pictured), which goes from infecting ants to turning humans into a zombie-like state
The gruesome scene was shared in a new video, showing the fungus grew five times longer than the insect
And the use of the caterpillar fungus is believed to have started a thousand years ago.
The eerie hybrid is nicknamed ‘Himalayan Viagra’ in Asia, where it is seen as a wonder drug. It is considered a highly prized ‘wonder drug’ in China and is often used by companies and individuals to bribe government officials.
Although it has no scientifically proven benefits, people who boil 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.