The Ichneumon Wasp is basically born clever. The larvae of these wasps make spiders build the web that will eventually hold up their cocoon, before eating the spiders. To accomplish this feat, the wasp larvae hitch a ride on the back of the spiders. Since the cocoon web the spiders spin isn’t different from the webs they usually spin to rest on before molting, the spiders are none the wiser. However, the cocoon webs are up to forty times stronger and are more reflective than the normal spiders’ webs. Experts believe that the wasp larvae trick the spiders by secreting or mimicking a hormone signaling to the spider that it should molt.

 

 

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Newsweek

Wasp Forces Zombie Spiders to Enhance Cocoons for Young

Their larvae grow up clinging onto the bodies of spiders, and program the arachnids to make extra-sturdy webs, ideal for holding up the cocoons the larvae will eventually spin. After growing larger than thespider, which dutifully lays the groundwork …Zombie spider builds a stronger web for the parasitic wasp that’s sucking its …The VergeThis Wasp Mind-Controls Spiders Into Building It Cozy WebsWiredWasps force zombie spiders to weave ‘cocoon’ webs Science Now Christian Science Monitor -Science 2.0 all 81 news articles »

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