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2021-10-30T02:13:00.0000000Z
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Parasitic wasps turn other insects into 'zombies,' saving millions of humans along the way

Phys.Org

Wasps have a reputation for being jerks because of their perceived aggressiveness and ability to sting repeatedly. They're often negatively compared with the honey production and agricultural pollination of bees. 

If wasps are jerks, however, they are positively saintly compared to their parasitic brethren.

Parasitic wasps sting to inject their eggs into a host, often accompanied by venom and a virus. Their larvae grow and eventually emerge from the unwitting host—usually killing it. Then they becoming adults and fly off to continue the cycle.

Some wasps go further, controlling their host's behavior, effectively "zombifying" them to help the larva survive. After studying the behavior of ichneumon wasps, which lay their eggs in moth larvae, naturalist Charles Darwin wrote that they were so evil that they were proof against the idea that God was directing evolution:

"I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent & omnipotent God would have designedly created the Ichneumonidæ with the express intention of their feeding within the living bodies of caterpillars."

While no wasps are known to lay eggs in humans (although some flies do), they have inspired films like the Alien franchise and the recently released monster survival video game House of Ashes.

Read on: https://phys.org/news/2021-10-parasitic-wasps-insects-zombies-millions.html

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