One of the many problems farmers of various kinds of legumes need to deal with is the pea aphid
. They reproduce incredibly fast and live by sucking the sap out of the plants, an electron micrograph of one in action
. However, while they are terrifying parasites of legumes, they have their own yet more horrific parasites, a parasitoid
wasp. Here is a really nice close up picture of one doing its thing
, a video of the act
, and here is a brain meltingly horrific video of a dissection of the mummified aftermath 8 days later
. Essentially, these wasps deposit their eggs in a pea aphid and the growing larva feeds on it, developing there for about a week, and then consuming the host from the inside out
like a Xenomorph
. When it’s done, the wasp larva dries the aphid’s cuticle into a papery brittle shell and an adult wasp emerges from the aphid mummy. Legume farmers love them, and you can even order their mummies online these days
. However, farmers noticed that the wasps didn't work as effectively on all of the aphids, and so researchers went to work figuring out why. It turns out that all aphids have a primary bacterial endosymbiont living inside their cells, in addition to and just like a mitochondria, and that many have some combination of five other secondary endosymbionts
. Interestingly, two of those other five, Hamiltonella defensa
and Serratia symbiotica
have been shown to confer varying levels of resistance to the parasitoid wasp, allowing the aphid to survive infection. However, it turns out that there is yet one more layer to this story, [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb
on Oct 22, 2012 -
Researchers at Oregon State University have uncovered a unprecedented find: a spider attacking a wasp
, both captured
in amber (larger image here
). The story, published in the journal Historical Biology
, details that the attack occurred some 100 million years ago, during the early Cretaceous, in what is now Myanmar. Both the spider and the wasp belong to now-extinct species.
The amber fragment also contained the body of another spider in the same web, which may be the oldest evidence yet for social behaviour in spiders.
posted by ricochet biscuit
on Oct 10, 2012 -
Wasp performs roach-brain-surgery to make zombie slave-roaches
"Ampulex compressa is a wasp that has evolved to tackle roaches, insert a stinger into their brains and disable their escape reflexes. This lets the wasp use the roach's antennae to steer the roach to its lair, where it can lay its egg in it.
Seeing a full-grown wasp crawl out of a roach suddenly makes those Alien movies look pretty derivative. "
Via Boing Boing
posted by badlydubbedboy
on Feb 3, 2006 -
When I first saw this
in the Indiana Living
section of the Indianapolis Star,
I nearly did a spit take on my morning coffee.
These "educational" dolls have names like Starlet Stephanie, N.Y. Sammy, San Juan Carmen, Windy City Girl, East L.A. Lupe, Beantown Cynthia, and Confederate Tammy,
and seem to be the worst sort of stereotyping (as well as relying on overly simplistic moralizing backstories).
What... no Waspy Wendy?
Apparently they're working on a "Black-American" (from the article, I assume they mean "African-American"). Shouldn't children, by definition, be innocent, and not be subjected to these badly designed, poorly plotted, crypto-racist, "Ghetto-Patch kids?"
posted by jpburns
on Jan 9, 2002 -
to the the many concerns people have expressed over the WaSP's recent Browser Upgrade Campaign. Read it if you love the web.
posted by ericost
on Mar 7, 2001 -