The zombie apocalypse is upon us! Well, in ladybug form, that is.
Scientists at the University of Montreal studied a type of wasp larvae that turns ladybird beetles into the living dead. The larvae of this parasitic wasp colonizes the ladybug while it’s still alive, feasting on it as the egg grows in the interior of the ladybug.
After about 20 days, the larvae breaks out of the body and spins a cocoon around the ladybug’s legs. The poor ladybug can barely move and is forced to allow the larvae to keep feeding on its body. The larvae won’t let go of the ladybug until it takes its fill and no longer needs its host.
Even more disturbing or amazing, depending on how you look at it, is the fact that about 25% of the ladybugs actually live through the process. Although, I’m not sure what life would be like with half your insides gone.
What do you think? Is there a high quality of life for a ladybug zombie?
Reference: “Larvae Turns Ladybugs Into Zombies,” Science Illustrated, May/June 2012, 5(3), p. 14.
Photo Credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/jonathan_bliss/10596227316/”>Moonrhino</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>cc</a>