“Zombie” Parasites That Control Their Hosts’ Minds
October 31, 2014
National Geographic — Jewel wasps are masters of mind control manipulate their hosts from within, causing them to act in self-destructive ways that ultimately benefit the parasite. Read about these “mindsuckers” in National Geographic magazine.
BGU researchers studied the jewel wasp and found that when the female jewel wasp is ready to procreate, she finds a cockroach to serve as a living nursery for her young. See a video of the graphic novella Sting of Doom>>
First, she injects a toxin into the roach that paralyzes its front legs. Then the wasp strikes again in throach’s head.
Prof. Frederic Libersat and colleagues in BGU’s Department of Life Sciences discovered that the jewel wasp’s venom targets a specific area of the brain responsible for initiating movement.