It triggers the production of pheromones in the body of a dead fly to attract the attention of a partner.

Specialists from the University of Copenhagen and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences studied the fungus entomophora fly. It infects females, triggers the production of a pheromone analogue, and attracts males to mate. The results of the study appeared in The ISME Journal.

Six days after the initial infection, the fungus began to control the behavior of the females, forcing them to climb to the highest point in their immediate vicinity. Shortly thereafter, the flies died and the fungus began to release chemical signals called sesquiterpenes. They acted like pheromones, attracting male flies to mate with female corpses. At the same time, fungal spores spread from dead females to living males, subsequently infecting them as well.

It is noted that males preferred to mate with females that have long been dead. In particular, it was found that 73% of males copulated more often with the corpses of females that died 25–30 hours ago. Only 15% preferred females that died between three and eight hours ago. This is because the number of fungal spores increases over time along with the intensity of the pheromones.

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