Parasites who control mind Paula Bronstein/Getty Images

Как паразиты дёргают за ниточки

ЛИВЕРПУЛЬ – В научной фантастике уже давно исследуется пугающая вероятность, что мы на самом деле лишены свободы воли, и что некие малоприятные создания контролируют наш мозг или превращают нас в заторможенных зомби. Но контроль над разумом – это не просто литературная выдумка. Это общепринятый метод, благодаря которому паразиты получают доступ к тем природным условиям, в которых у них есть возможность расти, размножаться и завершать свой жизненный цикл.

Например, грибок кордицепс (Cordyceps) меняет поведение муравьёв в тропических лесах, заставляя их забираться как можно выше на растения; зацепившись за листочки, они гибнут. После этого грибок размножается, разбрасывая споры по всему лесу, чтобы заразить как можно больше муравьёв внизу. Аналогичным образом вирус, инфицирующий гусениц непарного шелкопряда, принуждает их в массовом порядке заползать на верхушки деревьев, где они погибают. Затем вирус размножается, рассеивая сверху свои частицы над лесом.

Эти паразиты заставляют хозяев стремиться на возвышенности, благодаря чему расширяется территория, охватываемая их инфекционными спорами или частицами. Другие виды паразитов могут вызывать более сложные формы поведения. Черви волосатики, например, заражают сверчков и принуждают их к суициду – они прыгают в какой-нибудь водоём, например, лужу или бассейн. В этой водной среде волосатики размножаются, завершая свой жизненный цикл.

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