Natures wonders: parasitic wasp larvae control spiders (Introduction)

by David Turell @, Wednesday, January 15, 2020, 00:40 (211 days ago) @ David Turell

Another example just found:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/01/200114104031.htm

"Acrotaphus wasps are fascinating because they are very sizeable parasitoids. The largest species can grow multiple centimetres in length and are also very colourful. Previously, only 11 species of the genus were known, so this new research gives significant new information on the diversity of insects in rain forests, tells postdoctoral researcher and lead author of the new study Diego Pádua, who has worked both for the INPA and the Biodiversity Unit of the University of Turku.

"The parasitoid Acrotaphus wasps parasitise on spiders. A female Acrotaphus attacks a spider in its web and temporarily paralyses it with a venomous sting. After this, the wasp lays a single egg on the spider, and a larva hatches from the egg. The larva gradually consumes the spider and eventually pupates.

"The Acrotaphus wasps we studied are very interesting as they are able to manipulate the behaviour of the host spider in a complex way. During the time period preceding the host spider's death, it does not spin a normal web for catching prey. Instead, the parasitoid wasp manipulates it into spinning a special web which protects the developing pupa from predators.

"Host manipulation is a rare phenomenon in the nature, which makes these parasitoid wasps very exciting in terms of their evolution, tells Ilari E. Sääksjärvi, Professor of Biodiversity research from the University of Turku."

Comment: This cannot develop through stepwise evolution. Design required.


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