Are Wasps The Origin Of The Zombie Outbreak?

Posted by Chris on July 27th, 2011

Chris Tisdale is the WeirdThings beat writer covering the latest updates about the coming zombie apocalypse.

Some people believe that the coming zombie apocalypse will result from a mutation or manipulation of something that already occurs in nature, typically a virus or other disease, but I say we might not need to look further than the insect world.  Take the wasp species Dinocampus coccinellae, for example. Like most parasitic creatures, this insect uses a host organism -in this case, a ladybug- as a living incubator for its eggs. When the larvae are hatched, however, something interesting happens. According to HowStuffWorks:

Normally, the host organism mercifully dies at this point, but DC’s ladybug is not so lucky. Not only does it live, but a little behavior modification forces it to hang around and “guard” its parasite-baby as it grows into adulthood beneath its protective bulk. Scientists believe that secretions left by the larva when it bursts out might play a role in reprograming the host.

Amazingly, many ladybugs actually survive this process, and resume “normal behavior” when the wasps reach maturity and the zombification wears off.

Not only does this study show that zombies do exist in nature, it shows something can survive it. Might come in handy one day.

[HowStuffWorks]

  • Mike Lettau

    Oorrrrr.. how we can use it to our benefit to zombify things to make them do useful stuff for us? eh? eh?

  • Carl Earl

    We started doing that in the sixties. Today we call them politicians.