Remarkable Nat Geo footage shows ant's death by spore, and it's brutal

This clip from the Earth Day episode of TV show Hostile Planet is like something out of a horror movie.

Leslie Katz Former Culture Editor
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Leslie Katz
National Geographic

You thought Jordan Peele's Us was terrifying? Wait till you watch this exclusive clip from National Geographic nature docuseries Hostile Planet. In it, a spore lands on an unassuming ant, and very bad things start to happen.

The spore releases a parasitic fungus called a cordyceps into the ant's body, flooding its brain with chemicals that compel the insect to seek an environment where the spore stands its best chance of infecting more ants. The astoundingly detailed time-lapse footage shows the fungus bursting through the ant's body like something out of the movie Alien as foreboding music underscores the gore. This may be nature at work, but it's truly horrifying to watch the ant meet such a brutal fate. I've never felt more empathy for an insect.

Watch this: Ant's deadly nightmare: Slow death by spore

The six-part Hostile Planet, narrated by British adventurer and survival instructor Bear Grylls, focuses on the resilience of creatures facing cruel evolutionary curveballs in tough habitats like mountains, deserts, oceans and the North and South poles. The show premiered April 1 and logged approximately 1,800 hours of footage over all seven continents. Scenes include a heart-stopping tumble between a snow leopard and an ibex, and barnacle geese chicks base-jumping from cliffs. 

The above clip comes from the new episode of Hostile Planet, which airs on Earth Day (Monday). The episode explores jungles and how increasingly unpredictable rains threaten all but their fittest species.