Sci-Fi Worthy Parasite: Cotesia glomerata

Every week, Christie Lynn of Observation of a Nerd blog features a post about a hair raising parasite worthy of a science fiction (or perhaps better yet, horror) movie.

This particular one is about a caterpillar being eaten from inside after being infected with a parasitic wasp; make sure to see all of the other entries. And a little warning: it's not for the faint of heart.

Cotesia glomerata, like many other parasitic wasps, targets caterpillars to host its hungry little wasps-to-be. When it finds a suitable host, it injects its eggs directly into the body cavity of the unfortunate butterfly larvae by stabbing its egg-laying, needle-like appendage called an "ovipositor" directly through the catterpillar's skin. Inside the host, the eggs hatch and begin feeding on the inner organs to become fully grown.

Link

From the Upcoming ueue, submitted by \'\' Christophe.


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Hey, the cotesia glomerata; featured here, does alter the caterpillars mind in much the same way as the hook worm (snail parasites) it just does it in a different way. both are undoubtbly amazing, but for a catterpillar to stop growing, stop eating, stop functioning on its own; 'mind control' is apparent.

As the larvae exit the lepidoptera (caterpillar) one or two stay behind and in a way sacrifice themselves for their siblings, this one or two invaders we speculate may be the reason for the caterpillars altered behaviour. They stay to keep secreting the sunbstance needed to sustain the caterpillars change. Much like the hookworm must stay in the ants brain to control it.

In no other animal is so much evolutionary power visible.

I wonder, if they sponteanously gained self preservation instincts like that of our own; Would they still be able to thrive?
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Greetings from Ireland.

I found you quite by chance while Googling cotesia glomerata. My 7-yr-old was keeping a jar of cabbage white caterpillars for a science project...until the caterpillars began to explode! Instead of a jar of beautiful butterflies, he now has a jar of wasps instead.

Absolutely fascinating, but I have to say, really gross.
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