Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
Just when you think life couldn’t get more horrifying, along came exploding zombie caterpillars…
Caterpillars have reportedly been found in Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside in England, by Wildlife Trusts, who are infected by a baculovirus which causes them to climb to the top of vegetation to die.
Said baculovirus then bursts out of the dead caterpillar, in order to find a new host...
The skins of oak eggar caterpillars were found atop small bushes, which was a peculiar thing considering they normally live in the undergrowth near the bilberry and heather they eat.
Research has since suggested that the virus affects the caterpillars brains and their response to light, making them climb high to dangerous places to meet their end.
The virus has been likened to zombie films, with The Trust’s Mosslands Manager Dr. Chris Miller revealing, "I was carrying out a large heath butterfly survey on Winmarleigh Moss and noticed a caterpillar hanging from the end of a branch of a small bush. Later on I saw another one hanging from a tall blade of grass both were dead but otherwise intact.
"Whilst checking some other branches I noticed small scraps of caterpillar skin on a couple of branches suggesting the two I had seen where not the only ones to be affected. It’s pretty gruesome when you think about it.”
As you’d expect, Twitter is not coping with this creepy, but sad, news…
Leave these future butterflies alone!!!