Parasitic Wasp Makes Ladybugs Into Zombie Servers

November 2, 2016 | Posted In: General

A tremendous adaptive advantage for a group of parasitic wasps has been observed in the wild. The parasitic wasp known as Dinocampus coccinellae is able to implant a virus into a ladybug that transforms the ladybug into a zombified slave.

A biologist from Stony Brook University in New York was the first to discover the unique function of the virus referred to by its shortened name as DcPV. This virus is the first known virus that can help one animal species manipulate another animal species for its benefit.

The wasp starts this invasive process by implanting its eggs, along with the virus, into the ladybug. The virus then replicates inside the growing wasp larvae. The wasp larvae then feed on the ladybugs internal fluids. Once the larvae are ready to pupate the ladybug then becomes completely paralyzed. Now the ladybug is made to stand guard in front of the nests belonging to the wasps. The ladybugs will twitch and move about and even use their own venom to attack intruders.

Do you think that the properties of this venom could be studied to create mind control drugs designed for human use?