Newly Discovered Wasp Species Enslaves Spiders


#1

Spiders spend a lot of time crafting their webs in hopes of making a meal out of all manner of winged insect–but a recently discovered species of wasp is found to use the spider’s engineering prowess to it’s own advantage. Through a not yet understood chemical process, the wasps are able to, quite literally, enslave the unsuspecting spiders to build a nest for their larva, and after all that hard work, become their first meal. Sure, it seems pretty dastardly, but researchers say it’s evolution.

According to a study published by a Brazilian team in the Journal of Natural History, and reported by Correio Braziliense, the newly discovered wasp species, a member of the Hymenoptera family, is able to control some spiders through a chemical process that remains a mystery.

How the Wasp Enslaves the Spider
A female wasp will target a spider and immobilize it with an unknown venom injected into its mouth–at which point the wasp lays its eggs on the spider’s abdomen. When the spider revives, it seems to carry on unaffected as the wasp larvae develop.

Over the course of several days, as the larvae grows riding on the spider’s body, it releases a chemical that changes the behavior of its host. Instead of its normally orderly web-pattern construction, the spider begins to build a special cocoon for the larvae–controlled by the mysterious substance they emit. According to researchers:

It may be a neurotransmitter or a potential neurotoxin that alters the behavior of the spider in building the web. This is because the spider is weaving a structure of three to four spokes and a central part of the cocoon where it will be.

A normal web, left, compared to one built by an enslaved spider, right.

Spiders Build Tough Wasp Homes
The cocoon is thought to be an ideal wasp nursery because “apparently, the structure is much more resistant to the weight of the cocoon and climatic factors such as rain.”

As the wasps mature inside their custom-built home, they draw nutrients from the spider who constructed it–eventually devouring it completely when fully developed. So much for gratitude.

An Evolutionary Advantage?
While it seems like a pretty one-sided deal, scientists are hoping to better understand the evolutionary advantage of the wasp and spider relationship. According to researchers involved in the study, the behavioral change induced by the wasp may lead to new research into other species where similar influences have been observed.

Scientists also suspect that the chemicals used by the wasp may have some practical application.

The aim is to unravel this mystery in future experiments. We know it’s possible to have medicinal properties in this substance, because the compound is shown to be very strong.


#2

Inb4 wasp overlords joke.


#3

you should actually post something after saying “in before”

what exactly did you get “in” other than your “in before” message? nothing. you posted nothing.

dumb spammer


#4

They could not have made that picture of that wasp more frightening.


#5

I, for one welcome our new insect overlords.


#6

… Umm… Who the fuck are you?


#7

First we had fungus driving ants to commit suicide at the top of shoots of grass, now we have wasps mind-controlling spiders to build them houses. Nature is fucking creepy.

The zombie apocalypse doesn’t look too far-fetched now imo.


#8

And so rise our allies in The Great War*. Bless you wasps.

*The eventual war between spiders and humans to determine who shall inheret the Earth.


#9

Wonder if the Wasp only targeting black spiders?


#10

Apparently some guy that just called you out for posting lame shit. Really though, the species name has the word HYMEN in it. Go figure.


#11

I wonder if research will come up with some mind-controlling drugs.


#12

Wasps got all sorts of mind control shit goin on.


#13

i see what you did


#14

Those are probably just happening to the crack spiders bitch. Everyone knows the spiders in command are way superior to other insect species.

[media=youtube]Dg-r-S0fIkA[/media]

No comparison, fo sho.


#15

i smell new sci fi channel movie


#16

Complete with super low-budget CGI.


#17

it wouldnt be a sy fy channel movie without it.


#18

A+, would read again.

Yeah, well, at least my post didn’t resort to a vagina joke.

Just kidding, women are silly.


#19

Stole my joke.


#20

speaking of wasps, http://www.shoryuken.com/showthread.php?t=226745

defendor uses wasps