Scientists from Japan have recently discovered that wasps can turn spiders into zombies. The researchers revealed that the wasp lays an egg on the spider’s back and it can control its actions by making it its slave. The spider also provides a very comfy cocoon for the wasp’s offspring.
The spider acts as day care for the parasitic wasp baby and the small insect will suck the guts and blood from inside the body of the spider, ultimately leading the spider to die.
Researcher Keizo Takasuka from the Kobe University said that the whole scene resembles the Alien films but on a much smaller scale. He and other researchers at the Kobe University carried out the recent study that claims that manipulations of the host seen in biological circles is quite a common behavior for the parasitic wasps.
The scientists said that this is the modus operandi of the wasp where usually, the spider just retreats and hides during the molting stage where it is very vulnerable. Nevertheless, when the wasp lays the egg on the spider, the spider will hide and retreat anytime the wasp wants it to, not during the course of the spider’s molting stage.
The new study noticed how the wasp Reclinervellus nielseni took advantage of the spider Cyclosa argenteoalba and it took control over the spider’s body and mind in order to create a nursery where the larva will feed on the spider itself as well.
The wasp is native to Australia. The parasitic wasp first injects its host with venom before laying an egg on its back. When the egg hatches, the baby wasp will begin to do some parasitic work, having structures like teeth that it will use to latch and puncture on the body of its host, all while slowly sucking the organs and the blood out of the spider’s body.
The scientist also said that it’s still uncertain if the larva injects the spider with venom or its mother or both of them, allowing this kind of manipulation of another living organism. Reclinervellus nielseni is among the most aggressive species of wasps known at this time and it will probably be the subject of further studies that will mostly focus on the effects of its venom have on the spider host.
The recent study conducted at the Kobe University in Japan and lead by Keizo Takasuka was published in the Journal of Experimental Biology.
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