The zombie fruit flies in your kitchen

Entomophthora muscae, the "fly destroyer," is a fungus that infects the insect and zombifies. Then, at dusk, "the fly points its wings straight up and dies in a gruesome pose so that a fungus can ooze out and fire hundreds of reproductive spores."

“Oh, it’s a nightmare for the flies,” retired UC Riverside entomologist Brad Mullens told KQED's Deep Look. “If their little brains could comprehend it, they would live in fear.” Read the rest

Paris zoo opens a new exhibit with an immortal mutant slime mold called "The Blob"

The blob has no mouth, but I must scream.

To be fair, it doesn't a stomach, or eyes, or feet, or anything resembling a brain, either (at least as far as modern science would define it). It's not technically a fungus, or an animal, or a planet. It is, quite simply, an incomprehensibly bizarre yellow slime mold that's also alive, and at least somewhat-sentient. Even its official scientific classification, physarum polycephalum, literally translates to "many-headed slime."

And now it's held captive and displayed at the Zoo de Paris, starting October 19.

Did I mention that this blob has some kind of intelligence, or at least the ability to remember things, and absorb knowledge from other slime mold blobs that it consumes? And that it's capable of moving independently, squishing along at a limbless rate of about 1.6 inches per hour? It also has 720 different sex organs, and will heal in two minutes if you cut it in half.

It also, apparently, loves the taste of oatmeal, as well as Acacia trees, oak bark, and chestnut bark. So um, at least it's probably not going to eat us when it ultimately escapes and seeks its revenge for being caged and mocked by us lowly humans? Maybe. If we're lucky.

From EuroNews:

"The 'blob' is a living being that is [one] of nature's mysteries. We don't really know what it is," director of the Paris Museum of Natural History, Bruno David, said, adding that it lives and grows in damp forest undergrowth away from the light.

Read the rest

Delightful petri dishes filled with wool and felt fungi

Elin Thomas uses real petri dishes and fills them with beautiful crocheted felt and wool spores, mold, and fungi. Read the rest

Watch how to find and eat giant puffball mushrooms

Tim Farmer found a giant puffball mushroom in the woods, a fall delicacy that requires a little good luck and timing to enjoy. They are a lot safer than picking other wild mushrooms because they are pretty easy to identify. Read the rest