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Scientists Discover Frightening Species of Wasp That Turns Spiders into Zombies

The Amazon rainforest is home to many frightening creatures, like giant Anacondas, flesh-eating piranhas, just to name a couple, and now you can add a new one to the list, a species of wasp that lays its eggs on the abdomen of spiders and then hijacks their brain, essentially turning them into zombies.

The previously unknown wasp of the Zatypota genus was discovered by researchers with the University of British Columbia (UBC) working in the Ecuadorian Amazon basin. They documented its symbiotic relationship with a species of so called “social spiders” and recently published some truly terrifying findings in the Ecological Entomology scientific journal. This newly discovered wasp is apparently able to hijack the nervous system of its host, forcing it to leave its colony, which it otherwise rarely does, protect the wasps larva and ultimately get eaten alive. It essentially turns the social spider into a zombie-like drone that then does the wasp’s bidding.

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The Parasitic Fly That Eats Bumble Bees from the Inside and Forces Them to Dig Their Own Graves

As if habitat loss and pesticide exposure weren’t enough to deal with for bumble bees, they also face increasing pressure from a parasitic fly that attacks them midair, injects them with eggs with hatch larvae which proceed to eat the pollinators from the inside before finally forcing them to dig their own graves.

It sounds like something out of a body snatchers horror movie, but the conopid fly is very much a real-life threat for bumble bee colonies already under a lot of pressure from human activities. The conopid fly is classified as a parasitoid, a parasite that not only feeds on its host, but ends up killing it in a gruesome, terrifying way. We’ve featured creepy body snatchers in the past, some that turn their host into zombies, others that simply take control of their bodies but leave their brains intact, but the conopid fly is even worse. It literally eats bumble bees from the inside, before somehow forcing them to land on the ground and dig a whole to die in. The injected parasite grows inside the host and ultimately bursts out of it as a mature conopid fly that attacks other bumble bees and continues this nightmarish cycle.

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Russian Woman Has Live Worm Crawling Underneath Her Face

Doctors in Russia recently reported the unusual case of a woman who noticed that a number blemishes appeared to move around her face every few days. Those blemishes turned out to be a live parasitic worm crawling under her skin.

The unnamed woman first noticed a small bump under her left eye, but didn’t pay too much attention to it until, five days later, when it disappeared only to be replaced by three larger blemishes above the eye. Then, 10 days later, those disappeared as well, but her upper lip became swollen. Disturbed by these symptoms, the Moscow-based woman sought medical help and ultimately learned that those strange bumps were actually a live parasitic worm called Dirofilaria repens slithering under her skin.

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Flight of the Living Dead – The Tiny Fly That Turns Bees into Zombies

Human zombies might be a figment of the imagination, but ‘zombie bees’ actually exist. They are ‘created’ when regular honeybees get infested with a particular type of parasite. The bees begin to display highly erratic and bizarre behavior that’s very zombie-like. These infested bees were first discovered in 2008 in California by John Hafernik, a professor of biology at San Francisco State University.

Ever since the initial discovery, zombie bee-sightings have been reported in Oregon, Washington State, California and South Dakota. According to Professor Hafernik, “They fly around in a disoriented way, get attracted to light, and then fall down and wander around in a way that’s sort of reminiscent of zombies in the movies. Sometimes we’ve taken to calling it, when they leave their hives, ‘the flight of the living dead.’”

The culprit here is the Apocephalus borealis, a parasitic fly that is known to implant its eggs in ants. The fly larvae live off the ants’ brains, dissolve their connective tissues and eventually finish off the ants. Researchers now have reason to believe that the flies have found a new home for their eggs – European honeybees that are common in the United States. The flies lay their eggs in the bees that eventually hatch, wreaking havoc in their hosts’ bodies.

zombie-bees

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