In a new finding, the researchers in Japan have found that a wasp that lays eggs on the back of a spider, also controls its behavior by enslaving the spider.
These spiders have been named ‘ zombie spider’. The wasps are a ‘demand’ the spiders to create cocoons for their offspring, and in this process they die as their blood and guts are drained from its body by the growing larvae.
“It’s like the Alien movies but on a miniature scale,” said Andy Austin from Adelaide University’s Australian Centre for Evolutionary Biology and Biodiversity.
He is an expert in parasitic lifestyles of insects. He points out that the finding of Kobe University is ‘really cool study’ that precisely depicts what is known in biology as host manipulation, a typical behavior of the parasitic wasp.
The research was published this week in The Journal of Experimental Biology. He also added that the study has added a new insight to the field. It is worth observing that the web and cocoon the zombie spider was making is similar to the type of network it made while molting.
The spider, the Cyclosa Argen Teo alba, injects its venom before laying an egg on spider’s back. Once the larvae hatch, they use their teeth-like structures to puncture its host’s body and suck the insides out as it grows.
These wasps are found in Australia, and this may be a common phenomenon happening all around in backyards on a microscopic level hence not visible to naked eyes.