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Natural World

Parasitic wasp turns spiders in to zombies

November 29, 2018 | Comment icon 4 comments



This is one wasp you don't want to mess with. Image Credit: Philippe Fernandez-Fournier / ubc.ca
Scientists have discovered a horrifying new species of wasp in the depths of the Ecuadorian Amazon.
Named Zatypota, the species was identified by researchers from the University of British Columbia.

What makes this insect particularly disturbing is its tendency to target and infect spiders with a parasite that turns them in to 'zombies' and dooms them to do the wasp's bidding.

"Wasps manipulating the behavior of spiders has been observed before, but not at a level as complex as this," said study lead author Philippe Fernandez-Fournier.
"Not only is this wasp targeting a social species of spider but it's making it leave its colony, which it rarely does."

The species of spider that the wasp targets - Anelosimus eximius - is unusual in itself because it is one of only 25 known types of 'social' spider in the world. Unlike most spiders which tend to be solitary, this particular species is known to live in colonies from which it rarely strays.

This makes its zombification and subsequent desertion all the more remarkable.

"This behavior modification is so hardcore," said co-author Samantha Straus. "The wasp completely hijacks the spider's behavior and brain and makes it do something it would never do, like leave its nest and spinning a completely different structure. That's very dangerous for these tiny spiders."

Source: Science Daily | Comments (4)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by third_eye 4 years ago
Seems like everything is having a go at making zombies out of the poor bees ... bees makes great zombie slaves ...   ~ I wonder sometimes if there is some germ that has already caused a parasitic infection and has already made zombies out the entire Human Population ~
Comment icon #2 Posted by OverSword 4 years ago
Wasps are terrifying.  I watched a documentary about one wasp that uses ants to raise it's larvae and give them preferential treatment over the ants own.  The relationship was so intricate and unlikely that I nearly became a creationist.
Comment icon #3 Posted by Nzo 4 years ago
Yes, Its called money.
Comment icon #4 Posted by quillius 4 years ago
mind blowing


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