Articles on Wasps

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The wasp’s pupa commandeering an enslaved spider. Keizo Takasuka

Wasps turn spiders into their zombie bodyguards, then kill them

Scientists in Japan have discovered a new species of wasp that induces a zombie-like state in spiders in order to manipulate them into protecting the wasp’s own offspring.
Ready to fight to the death? James Cook

Every time a fig is born there is a wasp massacre

“Don’t put all your eggs in one basket” is a common refrain. But usually it is not followed by the words “because your neighbours may kill you”. However, this is precisely the scenario faced by some female…
The bobtail squid and bioluminscent bacteria are just one of hundreds of examples of mutualism. Klaus Stiefel/Flickr

It takes two: how mutualisms evolve in a world of selfish genes

Reproduction for a female fig wasp can be a nightmarish process. When she is ready to lay her eggs, she leaves the fig in which she was born and became pregnant and searches for another. After she finds…
A queen bee tended by her workers … but take away her pheromones and they start to act strangely. Flickr/KrisFricke

Smells like queen spirit: royal pheromones in insect colonies

Much like people, insect colonies like to know if her majesty is at home. In the ants, bees, wasps and termites (the “big four” of the social insect world), the queen has long been suspected of using special…
Not cute, but crucial. Alvesgaspar

Wasps deserve to be loved

Recently a newspaper asked its readers to propose species that were, ecologically speaking, “useless”, such that their loss would not have any great knock-on effect on other species or biological cycles…
This is just asking for trouble. Wikimedia Commons

Sex and death … not-so-strange bedfellows

Few of us consider that having sex could result in a violent, instantaneous death. But in nature, where sex and violence are often two sides of the same coin, many animals are routinely subjected to such…

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