December 6, 2012

How Parasites Zombify Their Hosts

Carl Zimmer, New York Times


AP Photo

In the rain forests of Costa Rica lives Anelosimus octavius, a species of spider that sometimes displays a strange and ghoulish habit.

From time to time these spiders abandon their own web and build a radically different one, a home not for the spider but for a parasitic wasp that has been living inside it. Then the spider dies — a zombie architect, its brain hijacked by its parasitic invader — and out of its body crawls the wasp’s larva, which has been growing inside it all this time.

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TAGGED: Parasites, Zombies

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