Beware the wasps that turn unsuspecting spiders into workaholic zombies.
Japanese researchers have found that a wasp which lays its egg on the back of a spider can take control of its behaviour, making its spider slave build a cosy cocoon for its wasp offspring.
After building the nursery for its ungrateful parasitic host the spider dies, having had the lifeblood (and guts) drained from its body by the ever-growing larvae.
The wasp, which exists in Australia, injects the spider with venom before laying an egg which sits on the outside of the spider's body. After hatching, the larvae does some dirty work of its own and uses its teeth-like structures to puncture its host's body and slowly suck out the spider's insides as it grows.
"The big unknown is whether it is the larvae injecting something into the spider, the female wasp injecting the venom or a combination of the two which allows the wasp to manipulate the spider," Professor Austin said.
As usual, it's Australia serving up more horrors :)