The Cricket STD That Sterilizes…And Turns Them On


[O]ne particular insect virus can sterilise crickets, but also change their behaviour so they continue to mate with each other. By doing so, they pass the virus on to uninfected hosts.

[Shelley] Adamo’s team first noticed the virus when some of the female crickets in their lab stopped laying eggs. They dissected the uncooperative insects and found that their fat bodies—organs that store fat and make proteins – were swollen and blue. Under a microscope, these organs were loaded with viruses.

Still, the males actually became quicker to court nearby females and the females continued to mate with them. These continuing hook-ups don’t benefit the crickets. But the virus, which turned out to be sexually transmitted, gets an easy ride into fresh, uninfected hosts.

Photo by Sam Droege of the USGS Bee Inventory.
Via National Geographic.

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About Heretic

I design video games for a living, write fiction, political theory and poetry for personal amusement, and train regularly in Western European 16th century swordwork. On frequent occasion I have been known to hunt for and explore abandoned graveyards, train tunnels and other interesting places wherever I may find them, but there is absolutely no truth to the rumor that I am preparing to set off a zombie apocalypse. Nothing that will stand up in court, at least. I use paranthesis with distressing frequency, have a deep passion for history, anthropology and sociological theory, and really, really, really hate mayonnaise. But I wash my hands after the writing. Promise.

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