Parasitic Wasp Makes Spiders Build Them a Special Web, Then Eats Them

Posted on October 15, 2011

Zatypota percontatoria impact on Spider Web

Discovery reports that researchers have found that a parasitic wasp, Zatypota percontatoria, turns spiders into zombies and makes them build them a strange web house. The wasp larva (see below) attaches to the spider and somehow controls its behavior. The study's co-author Stano Pekar says, "It is a real mystery how the larva controls the behavior. Many people would like to know this, as a similar mechanism must also apply to parasites that control the behavior of human."

Under the control of the wasp larva, the spider builds a unique protective structure for the wasp larva that bears little resemblance to its normal web. The larva then kills the spider, eats it and builds a pupal cocoon inside the protective web structure. The above image shows the spider's normal web (image B) and the web it makes for the parasite (image A). Image C shows the wasp pupa with a dead spider.

The research paper was published here on PLOS One.

Zatypota percontatoria larve on spider

Photos: Stanislav Korenko and Stano Pekar

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