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Caterpillars being killed by ‘zombie’ virus that makes them climb to top of trees before EXPLODING into goo

Caterpillars are being killed by a ­“zombie” virus that spreads when its victims explode, splashing goo over other grubs feeding nearby.

The baculovirus “brainwashes” the Oak Eggar moth, changing its natural instinct to hide away from sunlight, and making it climb to the top of plants.

They then die and the virus makes the bodies liquify, bursting open to infect more caterpillars.

Wildlife expert Dr Chris Miller said: “It’s like a zombie horror film.”

He says the remains of Oak Eggar moth caterpillars have been spotted in the West Pennine Moors in Lancashire.

Dr Miller, mosslands manager for the Wildlife Trust in Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside, said: “It’s pretty gruesome when you think about it.

“ It is really unusual seeing caterpillars high up as they can be eaten by birds. This is a caterpillar of the Oak Eggar moth, which eats heather and bilberry, so it is normally hidden in the undergrowth, not at the top of plants.”

The effect on the caterpillars was first spotted 100 years ago, but the way the virus controls the grub was recently identified by scientists in the US.

Source : mirror

Collected by RG

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