Nature's Ballistic Missile

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  17 Dec 1982:
Vol. 218, Issue 4578, pp. 1221-1222
DOI: 10.1126/science.218.4578.1221


The parasitic fungus Haptoglossa mirabilis infects its 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.

Stay Connected to Science