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Infected "zombie spiders" are forced to create incubation chambers for their parasitic rulers

Parasites that control the behavior of their hosts for their own good are well-documented natural phenomena, but a particularly worrying message about the previously unknown relationship between a parasitic vacuum and a social spider.

Undoubtedly, the abduction of host brain is something that some organisms carry out, usually for reproductive purposes. The most famous examples are the fungus that controls the work of carpenter's ants, the scarlet parasite that makes the cat's urine scent irreversible to the rodents and the worm that infects fish causing complex dance.

Now, one more parasitic relationship discovered by scientists from the University of British Columbia can be added to this list, and this is one of the most serious things we have seen, both in terms of its complexity and its brutality.

Philippe Fernandez-Fournier, a leading research published today in eco-entomology, describes how Zatypota parasitic wine species are used and abused by social Anelosimus eximius spider, first using it as a car that escaped, and then convincingly create an incubation camera. Oh, and then it eats a spider.

Fernandez-Fournier was uneasy about the discovery in Ecuador's Amazon region, studying various parasites living in A. eximius. These spiders are called social spiders because they live in large colonies, work together to capture a river, share parents' responsibilities, and rarely encounter outside their common basketball nests.

These spiders are sturdy, so Fernandez-Fournier noticed when he saw some of these spiders infected with parasite larvae, which ran about one or two feet from the colony. This observation was in itself strange and rare, but the UBC scientist also watched the same spiders begin to turn into densely spiked silk and green pieces.

"It was very weird because they did not usually do it, so I started taking notes," said Fernandez-Fournier.

Interestingly, he took cocoon nets back to the lab. When he sliced ​​them open – for his shock – he saw that the wind was developing on the inside. Realizing that he was on something, Fernandez-Fournier and his team continued to explore, revealing a completely untapped interaction between the two species.

Here's how it works: an adult woman Zatypota The egg on the ovary places the egg on the abdomen Anelosimus eximius Spider. After the lamb hatch it attaches the spider and feeds on the blood. The larva gets gradually bigger, and it starts to occupy a lot of spider's body. After all, the spider falls into the state of "zombication", which no longer acts as a normal state of your own.

The larva is affected by the spider leaving its colony and setting the task of building a coco-net. When this forced construction task is completed, the spiders stay stationary, allowing the larva to complete the task of killing and consuming its host. The satiates, larvae squirrels are sucked in the web of cocoon, which it uses as an incubator for the next germination stage. From nine to 11 days later, a completely mature animal comes from cocoon.

Unfortunately, the cycle is restored to the next eight-legged victim.

The strategy, according to researchers, is unique, since parasitoids were previously documented only as stand-alone spiders.

"But the modification of this behavior is so strong," co-author Samantha Straus said in a statement. "The oak completely abducts the spider's behavior and the brain and makes it something that it would never do, for example, leaving its nest and aiming at a completely different structure, which is very dangerous for these small spiders."

To whom Strauss added: "We think that men are paying attention to these social spiders because they provide a large, stable host of colonies and food sources. We also discovered that the larger the spider colony, the more likely it was that these small will target it. "

Speaking of how a leafy hamster draws the magic of hypnosis, researchers assume that a spider injects a brain-changing hormone. This hormone is either a creeping spider, thinking it's in another stage of life, or it acts as a signal that allows the spider to escape from the colony. But these are just guesses.

Fernandez-Fournier and Strauss now would like to return to the Ecuadorian forest to learn more about these devils and their hosts. In particular, they want to know if the foxes are repeatedly targeted to the same colony of the spider, and if so, how does this behavior act as an advantage.

[Ecological Entomology]

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