the research composition I have chosen for my holiday homework is: “Describe your favourite plant or animal and explain why you like it”.
My favourite living creature is a mushroom with a very difficult name: Cordyceps unilateralis. It is small and red, and looks unimportant. But it is actually the smartest of all. Let me tell you that insects do not have a nose like us, but many small nostrils scattered all over their body. Each time an ant eats a Cordyceps, it thinks it’s just having a good snack. But the mushroom releases small seeds that are inhaled by the ant and enter its body. Some sort of thin little worm sprouts from the small seeds inside the ant. You can compare it to the root of a tree: this tentacle gets longer and longer until it reaches the brain of the ant. Nobody knows how it manages to get there, but as soon as it has settled in the ant’s mind, it takes it over. The insect then becomes a sort of puppet and is no longer able to decide what to do: it takes orders from the mushroom. The mushroom commands: “Now climb that tree, because it’s more humid up there, and I like it very much”. And the ant obeys. “Go to the side facing north, because I can’t stand the sun on my face”, and the ant goes there. “Get to that leaf and catch hold of the midrib with your mouth”, and the insect bites the leaf with all its strength and remains glued to it. As soon as it is satisfied with its position, the mushroom decides that it no longer needs the ant and kills it. Then the small tentacle starts to grow again and keep on growing, until it breaks the ant’s head … it comes out and releases its seeds in the most favourable spot. These grains are carried by the wind and breed new small mushrooms. Scientists have discovered that all this has been going on for 48 millions of years. Insects must well be more stupid than mushrooms. My elder sister runs a blog that she fills with pictures of cute little kitties doing cute little things. She told me she feels disgust for this mushroom. But when I grow up I want to be like the Cordyceps: maybe one day I will run a blog too … and through the computer screen I will take control over the readers’ minds and make their heads explode.