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In their drugged-out stupor, the host insects seem hyper-focused on mating, even though they're unable to reproduce. It's easy to see how this benefits Massospora : The more cicadas its host tries to copulate with, the more insects are exposed to its spores. Why cicadas would have evolved to synthesize the narcotics in the first place is less clear.

The Fourth of July can be rough for dogs. Fireworks displays light up their senses with unfamiliar noises, flashes, and smells, and parties flood their homes with strange guests who may invade the rooms they usually have as private retreats. And when distressed dogs escape, howl, or thrash around the house, Independence Day can quickly become a nightmare for their owners, too.

To minimize Fido's stress this holiday, we spoke to some dog experts to discover the best ways to keep your canine calm on the Fourth of July. Anthony Newman, the dog whisperer who runs New York City's Calm Energy Dog Training , says that exercise is a great way to help your dog let off some nervous energy. He'll be calmer, happier, and more peaceful. Stephanie Liff, head veterinarian at Pure Paws Veterinary Care , says the best place to keep your pet during a fireworks show is inside and away from the windows.

While your dog may feel more secure in a room away from all the noise, Newman points out that keeping your dog isolated in another room for too long can be stressful for your pet.

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Our Fun Food Facts for Kids will tell you interesting food facts from around the world with food records, traditional food and typical dishes. Indian Ocean Island: Mauritius. Indian Ocean Waterways: Suez Canal. Singapore by night. Dugong or Sea Cow. Join in. News for Kids. A study recently published in the journal Fungal Ecology explores how exactly the fungus is able to prey upon its hosts.


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Massospora is a genus of fungi that lives in the soil where young cicadas spend the first part of their lives. A cicada that digs through dirt containing Massospora emerges contaminated with fungal spores.

The spores proliferate as the insect matures, eventually eating through its abdomen and destroying its reproductive system. But the goal of the fungus isn't to kill its host immediately. Even when two thirds of a cicada's body is made up of Massospora , it continues to fly around, committed to its purpose at the end of its life—reproducing—seemingly more than ever. And when it tries to mate, the white clump of spores where its genitals should be can potentially infect a new victim. The researchers could see how Massospora spread from cicada to cicada, but why the cicadas were driven to keep mating in such poor condition was more of a mystery.

Their paper points to psychotropic substances found in the fungus—including the same compound that makes magic mushrooms a Schedule 1 drug.

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The spore plugs of infected cicadas contain psilocybin, the hallucinogen in magic mushrooms; and cathinone, an amphetamine found in the East African khat plant. When the researchers sequenced the genomes of Massospora , they found that the fungus didn't contain either the genes used by magic mushrooms or khat to produce their mind-altering substance. This could mean that the cathinone and psilocybin found in the spore plugs are the products of a chemical reaction between the fungus and something in its cicada host, possibly the bacteria in the insect's gut.

The two compounds also appeared independently in different types of cicadas: annual cicadas were effected by psilocybin, and periodical cicadas , which include year and year cicadas, contained cathinone. In people, psilocybin has been shown to combat symptoms of depression and anxiety , while cathinone can improve focus in people with ADHD.

It's possible that some version of these effects are amping up the infected cicada's sex drive.

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In their drugged-out stupor, the host insects seem hyper-focused on mating, even though they're unable to reproduce. It's easy to see how this benefits Massospora : The more cicadas its host tries to copulate with, the more insects are exposed to its spores. Why cicadas would have evolved to synthesize the narcotics in the first place is less clear. The Fourth of July can be rough for dogs.


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Fireworks displays light up their senses with unfamiliar noises, flashes, and smells, and parties flood their homes with strange guests who may invade the rooms they usually have as private retreats. And when distressed dogs escape, howl, or thrash around the house, Independence Day can quickly become a nightmare for their owners, too.

To minimize Fido's stress this holiday, we spoke to some dog experts to discover the best ways to keep your canine calm on the Fourth of July.

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Anthony Newman, the dog whisperer who runs New York City's Calm Energy Dog Training , says that exercise is a great way to help your dog let off some nervous energy. He'll be calmer, happier, and more peaceful. Stephanie Liff, head veterinarian at Pure Paws Veterinary Care , says the best place to keep your pet during a fireworks show is inside and away from the windows.

While your dog may feel more secure in a room away from all the noise, Newman points out that keeping your dog isolated in another room for too long can be stressful for your pet.