SAN FRANCISCO— A cicada-infecting fungi produces drugs that make the pests actually mate their butts off.

Massospora fungis make either a drug discovered in hallucinogenic mushrooms or an amphetamine discovered in khat leaves, plant pathologist Matthew Kasson of West Virginia University in Morgantown reported June 22 at the ASM Microorganism 2019 conference.

The fungis might utilize psilocybin, which triggers individuals to hallucinate, or the amphetamine cathinone to reduce cicadas’ cravings and keep the pests moving and mating even after they lose huge pieces of their bodies. The finding marks the very first time that scientists have found a fungi, besides mushrooms, producing psilocybin, and the very first organism beyond plants to make an amphetamine.

Massospora fungis are transferred sexually from cicada to cicada. Substantial plugs of fungis form on the pests’ abdominal areas, and throughout breeding, parts of the abdominal areas might break away, Kasson stated.

contaminated pests mate almost continuously, spreading out the fungis to partners, he and coworkers report June(******************************** )in(****** )Fungal Ecology(******* ).

(** )In general, the group found 1,176 little particles in fungus-infected cicadas, consisting of the 2 psychedelic drugs. The scientists aren’t sure how the fungis produce the drugs, which in other organisms need enzymes that appear to be missing out on from Massospora So the fungis might be utilizing brand-new methods to make the substances, Kasson stated. The group is likewise attempting to identify what the other particles do to affect cicada habits.