Wasp Uses Ladybug as ‘Zombie Bodyguard’

Once again, the folks at ScienceDaily.com have come up with yet another eyeball-grabbing headline.

Wasp Uses Ladybug as ‘Zombie Bodyguard’!

This article is a follow-up to a November 26, 2009, piece entitled Ladybugs Taken Hostage by Wasps.

OK… the deal goes like this. The wasp (Dinocampus coccinellae) plants a seed inside the ladybug, which grows until, like that creepy thing in Alien, it busts out of the ladybug’s abdomen.

But here’s the weird part. The lady bug lives and the larva takes residence between some of the ladybug’s legs, forming a cocoon. The ladybug, in a semi-drugged ‘zombie’ state, is manipulated into ‘protecting’ the cocoon until it is old enough to mature into a wasp. Once the wasp leaves, the ladybug stands a 25% chance of surviving and recovering its normal pre-zombie behaviour.

In other words, the behavioral manipulation only begins once the parasite has left the body.

Apparently, unlike human females, this species of wasp has not yet mastered the skill of reproducing and manipulating both at the same time.

Hang in there, wasps. It took our females a long time to hone that skill to an art. I’m sure you’ll get the hang of it soon!

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10 comments on “Wasp Uses Ladybug as ‘Zombie Bodyguard’

  1. renxkyoko says:

    Huh ? This is the first time I’ve heard of this… that is weird. Thanks for sharing, I learned something today. \(^__^)/

    • vampyrefangs says:

      Always good hearing from you, renxkyoko!! And yes, I think this definitely falls into the “Yew jus’ cain’t make this shit up!” category Just when you thought things couldn’t get much weirder, the guys at ScienceDaily.com make you go “HUH??”.

  2. renxkyoko says:

    Oh, wow ! That’s the site? I’ll check it i=out then . I’m so interested in wetd, bizarre stuff like this… There’s this species of insect , the male ones, that allow themselves to get eaten by the females after sex. I forget which insects though. And do we call it sex? Hahaha

  3. bunnynoah says:

    Never did like wasps in the first place….. now even less!

  4. vampyrefangs says:

    renxkyoko: ScienceDaily.com is the BEST! All kinds of weird interesting stuff. I love it.

    The thing about getting eaten while having sex… that is common with a few insects. I think with the praying mantis, the female bites off the guy’s head during sex. With many spiders, the female eats the male during sex or at least wraps him up so the kids can have something to munch on when they’re born. It’s tough being a guy in the insect world, I have to admit.

  5. vampyrefangs says:

    bunnynoah: I can never remember which are the wasps and which are the hornets.

  6. Lauren says:

    That is truly disgusting, and interesting, but disgusting. Neat!

    • vampyrefangs says:

      Lauren: That’s what makes it so fascinating. It has that “can’t take my eyes off the car crash” quality to it! 🙂

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