"At this time, the dead beetle opens its closed wings, expanding them as if in flight.
This exposes the fungal spores and may also serve as an attractant for living healthy beetles." It's "spooky" that the fungus can make the dead beetle open its wings, Steinkraus said.
"Their wings [were] dramatically opened and their abdomens [were] distended with what I recognized as an insect pathogenic fungus." may look like wasps or bees, but they're actually harmless beetles and key pollinators that have a life span of a year, Steinkraus said.
Their larvae are voracious, eating other insects and possibly even ticks, he added.
Complete details about the eight new maps coming to "Call of Duty: Black Ops 3" via the highly anticipated Zombie Chronicles downloadable content (DLC) have been revealed.
The fungus has a creepy but foolproof modus operandi: About two weeks after it infects the goldenrod soldier beetle (), it orders the beetle to climb up a plant and clamp its mandibles around a flower.
There, the spores germinate and break through the beetle's exoskeleton and begin growing inside its body.
Later, the fungus directs the beetle to climb up the plant and clamp down on it before dying on "the same flowers that healthy beetles are visiting to eat pollen and mate," Steinkraus said.
The Zombie Chronicles will also pull four maps from "Call of Duty: Black Ops" including a booby-trapped derelict cinema known as Kino der Untoten, which is also home to Crawler Zombies, and Ascension, an abandoned Soviet Cosmodrome, where undead experiments and creations were made. The former is a shrine in an exotic jungle that also houses an unthinkable number of zombies that "Call of Duty: Black Ops 3" players can expect to emerge from labyrinth of underground caverns and deadly traps.
The latter is where forgotten undead creatures gather.
When Steinkraus realized that a fungus () was turning these "pretty" beetles into zombies, he gathered close to 500 living and dead specimens to study them, he said.