six legged zombi maker

Insects are even teaching us about mind control, and maybe even about consciousness itself. A tiny wasp called the emerald cockroach wasp can do what many renters cannot: direct the movements of a cockroach. The wasp does this not to rid a kitchen of scuttling invaders but to feed her brood. Many wasps provision their young by paralyzing other insects or spiders and carrying them back to the wasp’s nest. The paralysis, as opposed to out and out killing of the prey, helps the prey stay fresh while the young wasp larva feasts on the flesh. Of course, paralyzed insects can’t put themselves into the nest, so the wasp usually has to do all the heavy lifting, staggering under the weight of her groceries as she flies back to her young. Except, that is, in the case of the jewel wasp, so named for the glittery emerald sheen of her exoskeleton. The female wasp doesn’t send the roach into an immobile stupor; instead, she makes it into a zombie via a judicious sting inside the roach’s head, so that its nervous system, and legs, still function well enough to allow it to walk on its own. Then, as science writer Carl Zimmer describes, ‘The wasp takes hold of one of the roach’s antennae and leads it, like a dog on a leash, to its doom’

Source:  Delancey Place, quote from Sex on Six Legs by Marlene Zuk

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