Wasp Zombifies Ladybugs Using Virus as Bio-Weapon—a First
A parasitic wasp deploys a virus to enact a sinister mind-control strategy.
A tiny parasitic wasp injects a virus into ladybugs that turns them into zombie bodyguards for its young, a new study says.
The discovery of Dinocampus coccinellae's secret biological weapon, and its bizarre effect on the spotted lady beetle Coleomegilla maculata, reveals a devious new "mind control" strategy used by parasites. (Read "Mindsuckers" in National Geographic magazine.)
The newly described D. coccinellae paralysis virus (DcPV for short) marks the first known virus or other microorganism "involved in a behavioral manipulation that benefits another species," said study co-author Nolwenn Dheilly, a biologist at Stony Brook University in New York.
After being injected into the ladybug along with the wasp's egg, the virus replicates inside the growing wasp grub, which feeds on