True Horror: Tales from the Insect-world Crypt
August 10, 2015 1:04 PM   Subscribe

Walking Dead: How Wasp Overlords Control Spider Zombies No, this isn't science fiction; it's the somewhat terrifying (but very real) tale of the orb-weaving spider Cyclosa argenteoalba and the parasitic wasp Reclinervellus nielseni, two species that carry out a strange relationship in Hyogo prefecture, Japan. posted by Michele in California (12 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
posted by aydeejones at 1:05 PM on August 10, 2015

Previouslier, and previouslier, and previouslier, and previouslier, and previouslier...

(Say it enough times and it stops sounding like a real word!)
posted by Sys Rq at 1:13 PM on August 10, 2015 [3 favorites]

I'm trying to work today. Jebus. Don't throw me down that rabbit hole. I will get nothing done and, for once, I will have someone to blame other than me.

posted by Michele in California at 1:17 PM on August 10, 2015

[Event Horizon] You won't be needing genitals where you'll be going [/Event Horizon]
posted by The Power Nap at 1:30 PM on August 10, 2015 [2 favorites]

Hans Rickheit drew a comic about this (which I scripted)
posted by Paul Slade at 1:56 PM on August 10, 2015 [3 favorites]

Here is the appropriate soundtrack, a piece inspired by an ant being mind-controlled by a fungal parasite called ophiocordyceps unilateralis. (Premiered at the BBC proms recently)
posted by yoHighness at 2:32 PM on August 10, 2015

This is why I can't believe in a benevolent god.
posted by dazed_one at 2:34 PM on August 10, 2015 [2 favorites]

What's great about wasps is that they have all sorts of incredibly horrifying behavior to choose from!

If they aren't the type that will zombify a creature, they are likely the type to paralyze it and then lay their eggs in it. See the Tarantula Hawk - These wasps take on freaking tarantulas with a nearly perfect success rate, and then slowly drag them off to inject them with eggs. The larvae will eat the host slowly over a period of weeks -- initially avoiding the internal organs, to keep it alive longer.

That's without mentioning their sting, which is the second most painful of all insects: "their recommendation—and this was actually in a peer-reviewed journal—was to just lie down and start screaming, because few if any people could maintain verbal and physical coordination after getting stung by one of these things. You’re likely to just run off and hurt yourself."

Notably, the Tarantula Hawk has no natural predators.

Yet another evil option for a wasp (and these aren't all mutually exclusive) is to be a "kleptoparasite," where their eggs are laid in the nests of other creatures - which the wasp will then usually go on to gleefully consume as it matures.

The Mrs. and I have been tending to butterflies, and we just recently spent all sorts of time reading about unacceptable wasp behavior - Now that we know about it, we see it all the time. It's really crazy to see them fly off carrying a fairly substantial caterpillar. Unbelievably terrifying creatures, but they DO make an excellent alternative to pesticide in agricultural contexts....
posted by MysticMCJ at 2:54 PM on August 10, 2015 [5 favorites]

Having not too long ago had my circle of empathy toward other life forms expanded to include eels, I wonder if there's one day something I might encounter would make it include wasps, which are one of the few things I'll coldly kill. Right now I have my doubts.
posted by weston at 3:06 PM on August 10, 2015 [2 favorites]

Oh god, oh god, oh god, why did I click? Why did I watch the video? I'm feeling legit woozy right now. Be brave, Ruki, be brave!
posted by Ruki at 3:23 PM on August 10, 2015

They may feel only a lightness.
posted by mrdaneri at 3:43 PM on August 10, 2015

It's like getting to eat your general contractor. I could get behind the idea.
posted by malaprohibita at 7:39 AM on August 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

« Older Scrundle   |   NDXOXCHWDRGHDXORVI Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments