Wasp Masters Herd Zombie Spiders



Parasitoid wasps may turn spiders into ‘zombies’ by hacking their internal code

So one day I was minding my own business and it felt a little…strange….a little strange in my web maker, so to speak, my big protruding, you know, abdomen, because I’m a spider and I spin webs and holy hell I feel odd.  I feel like wasps are really the superior insect.  I feel as if I should probably totally slave for them.

If this happened to a spider you know, maybe even love, then your spider is the victim of zombie hacking, and the culprit, if you can’t tell from the setup, is a zombie-making wasp.

Take it away, Science Daily –  Setting off a startling chain of events, a parasitoid wasp can force a spider to weave a special web to suspend the wasp pupa just before it finishes killing its spider host. William Eberhard, staff scientist emeritus at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and Marcelo Gonzaga at the Universidade Federal de Uberlândia in Brazil have assembled wide-ranging evidence that ‘zombification’ involves hacking existing web-spinning mechanisms by hijacking the spider’s own molting hormone, ecdysone.

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