Scientists have recently revealed a new parasitic wasp species which has a very strange life cycle, being called after the Egyptian god of chaos and evil. Euderus set is also known as the crypt-keeper wasp. This species is usually encountered in the southeastern United States. This wasp lays its eggs in the wooden chambers carved by the gall wasp, another parasitic wasp.
- Scientists have revealed a new species of parasitic wasp.
- This wasp lays its eggs in the chambers developed by the gall wasp.
- The larvae of crypt-keeper wasp devours its host from inside out.
This wasp known as galls represent some tree cysts being developed with the help of the host wasp’s young. After these eggs hatch, the crypt-keeper larva carves into the other species of wasps and takes control over its mind. The larvae will control the wasp to carve tunnels through the oak tree’s bark, a quest for which the parasitic wasp struggles on its own.
What is even more insidious it’s that the larvae can control the wasp to carve a hole which will be too small for it to escape. Once the wasp it’s driven by its parasite in the small hole, and it gets stuck there, the larvae start eating the other insect from inside out, erupting from its forehead. Scientists believe that this parasitic wasp also has control over bigger animals like serpents or hyenas.
Kelly Weinersmith, the lead author of a study about crypt-keeper but also a parasitologist at Rice University, stated that the behavior of this insect is very strange. Nevertheless, as strange as it may be, this parasitic insect is also amazing because, through natural selection, this species managed to control its host. The new study was recently published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. magazine.
Hyperparasites represent parasites which control the hosts, taking advantage of the, just like parasitic wasps which lay eggs in the carved rooms of other parasitic wasps which in turn lay their eggs in caterpillars. However, it is weird that an E. set parasite takes control over a B. pallida parasite. Scientists call this a Russian nesting doll also known as hypermanipulation.
Emily Meineke, a National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University, argued that this newly uncovered species is a special one. Meineke was impressed to find out how the crypt-keepers benefit from manipulating their host. Weinersmith together with other researchers had recorded the evolution of this parasite, revealing that after they kill their host and devour it, they eventually die.
Image courtesy of: wikipedia