Indeed, Evans, Hughes and others continue to hunt for more bizarre, opportunistic organisms. Evans is collecting more zombie ants in Brazil, as part of what he and Hughes have unofficially dubbed the "World Ant Tour." The hunt may be a race against time, however. When Evans returned to a field site in Ghana where he had found different genera of possessed ants in the 1970s, "we could not find any of the forest sites," he says. They were "all cleared, gone and largely invaded by exotic weeds. In fact, the same thing occurs every time I revisit the places that I have worked over the past 40-plus years," he notes.
Learning about zombie-ant funguses is not simply an exercise in outré science. As Hughes notes, discovering more about both the fungus and the ant behavior and signaling dynamics could add to research about pest control for agriculture. "Lots of the pure discoveries we make have great import for food security and the challenges farmers in tropical countries face from insects and fungi that infect their crops," he notes. But garnering such knowledge will require more zombie corpses to collect and study.