Virus Increases Desire in Infected Crickets

See on Scoop.itVirology News

Love may be a battlefield, but most wouldn’t expect the fighters to be a parasitic virus and its cricket host.

Just like a common cold changes our behavior, sick crickets typically lose interest in everyday activities. But when Shelley Adamo of Dalhousie Univ. found her cricket colony decimated by a pathogen, she was shocked that the dying insects didn’t act sick. Not only had the infected crickets lost their usual starvation response, but they also continued to mate. A lot. How were the pathogen and the exuberant amorous behavior in the sick crickets connected?

Ed Rybicki‘s insight:

Sex zombie crickets…the mind boggles!

But it’s becoming increasingly obvious that, in insects at least, viruses can cause very significant behavioural alterations.  There are also tantalising hints that they MAY do the same in humans.

I see a burgeoning field of endeavour in our future.

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