Parasites who control mind Paula Bronstein/Getty Images

寄生虫如何操纵宿主行为

利物浦——科幻小说一直探索一种可怕的可能性,那就是我们被剥夺了自由意志,某些令人不快的生物可以控制我们的思想或者将我们变成辛勤工作的僵尸。但思想控制不过是一种文学修辞。寄生虫也往往使用这种方法进入所需环境,并在那里生长、繁殖以及完成其生命周期。

冬虫夏草这种真菌为例,它通过干扰热带雨林蚂蚁的行为使其爬上一株植物,牢牢抓住一片叶子直到死去。冬虫夏草真菌而后通过在森林地面上洒满孢子来完成繁殖,以此来感染地面上更多的蚂蚁。同样,一种感染舞毒蛾幼虫的病毒促使它们成群结队爬到树顶去等死。这种病毒而后进行繁殖,并在森林地面上洒满病毒颗粒。

这些寄生虫促使宿主爬到高处,从而扩大其传染性孢子或颗粒的覆盖范围。但其他物种可以诱发更复杂的行为。比如线形蠕虫可以感染蟋蟀,并驱使它们跳入各种水源中自杀,无论是小池塘还是游泳池。而线形蠕虫恰恰是在这样的水生环境中繁殖并完成其生命周期。

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