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Zombie Seven-spotted Ladybug and Parasitic Wasp Cocoon

Coccinella septempunctata

Description:

This is a ladybug that has been turned into a zombie by a parasitic wasp species. I spotted it a few days ago but there was nothing abnormal about the ladybug (photo 2) and when I passed from there after a few days the ladybug was exactly on the same spot so I figured out that there could be something wrong with it and by close inspection could see the cocoon under the ladybug.

Habitat:

Urban, grassland by a forest

Notes:

A parasitic wasp injects the ladybug with a single egg and the ladybug has been paralyzed by the wasp's venom. In time the egg will hatch into a larva that will develop for a few days and then chew a small hole through the abdomen of the ladybug. The larva will then spin a cocoon between the legs of the ladybug, whose body will rest on top of the cocoon as the larva undergoes metamorphosis. In the following link you can read more and see some great photos of the whole process: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/...

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6 Comments

FaredinAliyevski
FaredinAliyevski 7 years ago

Thanks KarenL for using this spotting! Great information!

KarenL
KarenL 7 years ago

Fun fact! Zombies are not just a product of fiction – there are many examples of “undead” organisms in nature. This lady beetle has been parasitized by a wasp; a female wasp deposited a single egg in its abdomen, and the wasp larva fed on its internal tissue for around 20 days before breaking out…. without killing its host. Then wasp then spun a cocoon between the lady beetle's legs, and the lady beetle, partially paralyzed, is now under the control of the larva and forced to stand guard over the cocoon. The wasp larva grows by using the resources of its host. However, these resources must remain sufficient for the ladybug, since it cannot feed itself while guarding the cocoon, and it is thought that the survival rate of the wasp is increased by keeping the lady beetle alive. Creepy, eh? https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=...


Tiz
Tiz 7 years ago

That is a cliffhanger Faredin :) I hope the thing comes out tomorrow!

FaredinAliyevski
FaredinAliyevski 7 years ago

Oh and of course I took it home with me to see what exactly will come out :).

FaredinAliyevski
FaredinAliyevski 7 years ago

Thanks! That's a weird combination of feelings. I like them especially the photos on the link are amazing. Parasites are too amazing to hate, they are genius :)

Tiz
Tiz 7 years ago

This is a great spotting and excellent information. I am a big fan of parasites! I really love the iiik / wow feeling i have for them :)

FaredinAliyevski
Spotted by
FaredinAliyevski

Region Hovedstaden, Denmark

Spotted on Sep 1, 2013
Submitted on Sep 1, 2013

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