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No. 26: Mar-Apr 1983

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Nature's ballistic missile


"The parasitic fungus Haptoglossa mirabilis infects the rotifer host by means of a gun-shaped attack cell. The anterior end of the cell is elongated to form a barrel; the wall at the mouth is invaginated deep into the cell to form a bore. A walled chamber at the base of the bore houses a complex, missile-like attack apparatus. The projectile is fired from the gun cell at high speed to accomplish initial penetration of the host."

(Robb, E. Jane, and Barron, G.L.; "Nature's Ballistic Missile," Science, 218:1221, 1982.)

From Science Frontiers #26, MAR-APR 1983. 1983-2000 William R. Corliss