Parasite turns Wasps into Zombie Queens

Ich hatte hier schon von Parasiten befallene Zombie-Ameisen und Zombie-Raupen, die von Wespen gesteuert wurden hatte ich auch schon, von Fliegenlarven gesteuerte Zombie-Wespenköniginnen hatte ich aber noch nicht, glaube aber, dass ich den Themenkomplex „Parasitengesteuerte Zombie-Viecher“ schon ziemlich bald komplett habe.

Wie auch immer, von Larven gesteuerte Zombiewespen unterscheiden sich in ihrem Verhalten von je nach Geschlecht der Larve. Alle vom Parasiten befallenen Wespen eines Nests sammeln sich nach einer Weile an einem gemeinsamen Ort, dort schlüpfen die Männchen wärend ihr Wirt stirbt. Dann vögeln sie die ebenfalls beinahe ausgewachsenen Weibchen, während die noch in ihrem Wirt rumsitzen, die dann aus irgendeinem Grund die Verhaltensweisen von den Wespenköniginnen des Nests annehmen und mit diesen überwintern. Schließlich schlüpft die nächste Generation der Xenos vesparum und der neueste Lebenszyklus beginnt, die Parasitenweibchen verbringen ihr komplettes Leben also innerhalb der Zombiewespe. Nature is strange. Von Wired:

Infected P. dominulus — better known as common European paper wasps — reject their genetically preordained roles, abandon their hives and embark on a long, macabre journey during which a few live for a time as queens, albeit murderous queens. […]

For an individual wasp worker, the story begins during a springtime encounter with X. vesparum fly larva, which might be found under a leaf or even deposited in a colony. (More on that later.) The larva leaps onto the wasp, burrowing into its abdomen, where it will feed on its host’s blood. That’s just the beginning. In coming weeks, the larva grows larger and stronger. […]

Early in summer, when a hive is busiest, the infected wasp leaves and travels, as if under command, to some unknown but predetermined place. Other parasitized wasps converge there, too. When enough have gathered, mating begins — not for wasps, which now have shrunken and non-functional ovaries, but the parasites. Male X. vesparum, now fully grown and winged, wriggle from their hosts’ stomachs. They copulate with females, which remain mostly inside their hosts, poking only one end of themselves outside. For wasps that were infected by male X. vesparum, the story ends. They die, mostly from pathogens entering through the gaping holes in their sides.

Wasps still hosting female X. vesparum, however, live on. They gather food and fatten themselves, a treat experienced only by wasp royalty, then travel to sites where queens gather in late autumn. There they spend winter, resting beside the queens. “The parasite is triggering a queen behavior, but you can’t say they’re really queenlike, because they’re not reproductive,” said Manfredini. Come spring, the real queens go off to prepare nests, but infected wasps stay behind, waiting. Inside them, gestation is nearly complete.

Parasite Turns Wasps Into Outsider Zombie Queens

Vorher auf Nerdcore:
The High-Noon Graveyard of the Fungi-infected Zombie-Ants
48 Millionen Jahre alter Parasitenpilz eating Zombie-Ants found near my Hometown. No, really!
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