Thursday, October 27, 2011

Wasps Make Zombie Spiders Weave Weird Webs

The parasitic wasp Zatypota percontatoria can infect the Neottiura bimaculata spider and change its web weaving behaviour. Usually the spider will build a special protective web with a cupola-like structure in which to overwinter. Instead the wasp makes the zombie spider build this structure in the summer to house and protect the wasp pupa. It is unclear exactly how the wasp controls the spider's behaviour in this way but it is thought to manipulate the nerves or the glands that secrete hormones. Once built the wasp larva kills and eats the spider and builds its cocoon inside the dome.
Posted by Astrojenny

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