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The bacteria triggers the outpouring of pheromones through sustained damage to the flies’ hormone system, but the team aren’t sure exactly how the bizarre infection works

A deadly insect bacteria has been found to hijack the sex pheromone system of flies and other insects to tempt over its next unwitting victim.

Healthy vinegar flies were found to be more sexually attracted to infected insects because the sneaky pathogen, known as ‘Pseudomonas enteromophila’, forces its victims’ sex hormone system into overdrive.

The finding could help experts improve pheromone-based bug traps used to protect people from insect-borne diseases like malaria.

Mating experiments conducted by the team (pictured) found that vinegar flies that suffered from bacterial infection, as well as their faeces, emitted high amounts of typical odours that attract other flies

Mating experiments conducted by the team (pictured) found that vinegar flies that suffered from bacterial infection, as well as their faeces, emitted high amounts of typical odours that attract other flies

The bacteria triggers the outpouring of pheromones through sustained damage to the flies’ hormone system, but the team aren’t sure exactly how the bizarre infection works.

The researchers, from the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena, Germany, stumbled upon their finding while looking for a defensive system in the flies’ brains to protect them from bacterial infections. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk