Want Nightmares? This Wasp Will Do It.
Here is yet another reason why being a spider would suck.
Not that spiders aren’t fantastic and biologically fascinating, but they always seem to be the butt of all the jokes, fear and apparently wasps.
The Ichneumon wasp, is frankly, a wasp of nightmares. It would be the ultimate, manipulative bad guy.
It is classified as a parasitic wasp, for it uses a long eerie tail to drill through material such as wood into fellow insect larvae, its own larvae are planted inside and then the stranger insect larvae are then eaten…alive!
And you thought yellow jackets were bad.
But now to the spider. So if thought that eating other insect larvae alive just wasn’t enough to give this wasp a gruesome reputation, how about this:
The Ichneumon wasp attacks a spider such as the Plesiometa argyra, temporarily paralyzes it by a sting, and lays a larvae on its stomach. When the spider snaps out of it it resumes normal spider activity.
Over the next week or two the larvae hatch and feed on the spiders blood, apparently without the spider noticing. (I think this is where its crucial we point out that pros of having a neck that can rotate and look around. Or the skill of being observant.)
The larvae carefully plan their kill. On the night of the murder the larvae somehow convince to build a cocoon web, the larvae than kill its host, moult, and spin a pupal larvae from the cocoon.
This usually happens in Costa Rica, but don’t worry, if you feel like you’re missing out on the action we have parasitic wasps here too, such as the pelecinid wasp.
If you need more proof, this same wasp made Darwin doubt the existence of god. Which he was kind of already on the way of doing by laying the foundation for the proof that dinosaurs were not in fact Jesus Horses. But still, I find this compelling of the wasp’s bad-guy attributes.
“I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly created the Ichneumonidae with the express intention of their feeding within the living bodies of Caterpillars…” –Charles Darwin
More wasp action at Nature