Re: OT: Eaten Alive by Dragons
- From: "Bo Raxo" <crimenewscenter@xxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Thu, 12 Jun 2008 19:10:20 -0700
"comadrejo" <comadrejoagua@xxxxxxx> wrote in message
In article <5oydnYI4ntLGK8zVnZ2dnUVZ_r3inZ2d@xxxxxxxxxxx>,
"Bo Raxo" <crimenewscenter@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
We had walked past a few harmless-looking dragons sunning themselves in
bush or lurking under the stilts of houses,
What a nice uplifting story!:-) Sort of reminds me of spider wasp
larvae and what they do to spiders. This article is an excellent
appetite suppressant. :-p
Komodo dragons are probably the closet thing on this planet to the
science fiction Xenomorph, (Ie the "Alien" Creature) its blood may not
be acidic, but Komodo dragon's mouth are full of nasty bacteria to help
speed up digestion.
Steve Irwin would hang out near the Komodo Dragon dens, and would
repeat this line over and over, "one false move and I am a gonah
(goner)", I sort of like using that line when I played with my
How's this for science fiction:
Zombie caterpillars controlled by voodoo wasps
The parasitoid wasp Glyptapanteles lays its eggs, about 80 at a time, in
young geometrid caterpillars. The eggs hatch and the larvae feed on the
caterpillar's body fluids. When they are fully developed, they eat through
the caterpillar's skin, attach themselves to a nearby branch or leaf and
wrap themselves up in a cocoon.
At this point, something remarkable and slightly eerie happens.
The caterpillar, still alive, behaves as though controlled by the cocooned
larvae. Instead of going about its usual daily business, it stands arched
over the cocoons without moving away or feeding.
The caterpillar - now effectively a zombie - stays alive until the adult
"We don't know exactly what kills the caterpillars, but it is fascinating
that the moment of death seems to be tuned to the duration of the wasp's
pupal stage," says Arne Janssen of the University of Amsterdam.
Janssen and colleagues at the Brazilian Federal University of Viçosa noticed
that when they moved a paintbrush towards parasitised caterpillars, the
insects would thrash about, apparently in an attempt to protect the cocoons.
It wasn't the first time that parasites have been seen to manipulate the
behaviour of their hosts. One parasite, for instance, infects an ant and
appears to "convince" it to climb to the tops of blades of grass where it is
more likely to be eaten by grazing sheep - which the parasite needs to get
into in order to complete its life cycle.
But no-one had yet been able to show that the manipulation was not random
and did indeed serve the purpose of the parasite. It could be that, rather
than changing their behaviour, the parasites simply choose hosts that have
To test the manipulation hypothesis, Janssen's team allowed wasps to infect
caterpillars in a laboratory setting. Once the larvae emerged and formed
their cocoons, the researchers separated half the cocoons and the
caterpillars. The separated cocoons were attached to a leaf next to an
unparasitised caterpillar, which was prevented from moving away by a ring of
insect glue around the stem.
When they added a stinkbug, a voracious predator of wasp cocoons, the team
found that 17 of the 19 parasitised caterpillars thrashed their heads around
in the direction of the bug. More than half the time, this knocked the bug
off the branch or made it retreat. Unparasitised caterpillars barely noticed
the bug, even when it climbed on top of them.
To see if the behaviour affected the survival of wasp cocoons in the wild,
the researchers placed over 400 parasitised caterpillars in guava fruit
trees one day before the larvae were due to break through their skin.
Once the larvae had cocooned themselves on the nearby branches, the
researchers removed half of their bodyguard caterpillars and watched what
happened. The survival rate of "guarded" cocoons was twice as high as that
of unguarded cocoons.
- OT: Eaten Alive by Dragons
- From: Bo Raxo
- OT: Eaten Alive by Dragons
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