These little critters are blowing my mind. In essence, they are borrowing caterpillars whose bodies have been invaded by a parasitic fungi. Mummifying the bugs from the inside our, the flowering fungus then grows out of the forehead, breaking soil and appearing as innocent as ever.
What's more interesting is the burgeoning industry of these half animal, half fungal Franken-herbs. A few interesting facts:
- They make up 40% of household cash income in Tibet - 8.5% of their GDP
- They sell for up to $18,000 USD/kg
- They are considered a perfect balance of ying and yang - animal & fungal
- They have been shown to protect the bone marrow from whole body radiation, as well as have anti-depressent effects on depressed mice
Stranger than fiction.