Dr. Hughes suspects that the parasitic virus goads gypsy moth caterpillars into a feeding frenzy. Normally, gypsy moth caterpillars come out at night to feed and then return to crevices near the bottom of trees to hide from predators. The zombie caterpillars, on the other hand, cannot stop searching for food.

“The infected individuals are out there, just eating and eating,” Dr. Hughes said. “They’re stuck in a loop.”

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