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Dinocampus coccinellae - Cocoon under 7-Spot ladybird A message on waarneming today reminded me that I had this one sitting on my hard disk to upload sometime ...<br />
Here we see the cocoon that was spun by the wasp larva that emerged from the 7-spot ladybird after the Dinocampus mother had laid her egg in the ladybird and the larva developed by feeding on the body tissues of the beetle. The beetle is &quot;zombified&quot; by chemicals secreted by the larva and will remain &quot;sitting&quot; on the cocoon, hence providing some extra protection for the developing wasp. Some beetles survive this ordeal and in time will walk away alive. I&#039;ve seen that happen with a 7-spot, but I don&#039;t clearly remember if it was this one or some other. Apocrita,Braconidae,Coccinella septempunctata,Dinocampus,Dinocampus coccinellae,Euphorinae,Geotagged,Hymenoptera,Ichneumonoidea,Netherlands Click/tap to enlarge PromotedSpecies introCountry intro

Dinocampus coccinellae - Cocoon under 7-Spot ladybird

A message on waarneming today reminded me that I had this one sitting on my hard disk to upload sometime ...
Here we see the cocoon that was spun by the wasp larva that emerged from the 7-spot ladybird after the Dinocampus mother had laid her egg in the ladybird and the larva developed by feeding on the body tissues of the beetle. The beetle is "zombified" by chemicals secreted by the larva and will remain "sitting" on the cocoon, hence providing some extra protection for the developing wasp. Some beetles survive this ordeal and in time will walk away alive. I've seen that happen with a 7-spot, but I don't clearly remember if it was this one or some other.

    comments (7)

  1. ''D. coccinellae'' has been described as turning its ladybird host into a temporary "zombie" guarding the wasp cocoon. About 25% of ''Coleomegilla maculata'' recover after the cocoon they are guarding matures, although the proportion of other ladybird species which recover is much lower."

    Wow! Might I suggest you add this to your photo description? Your photo seems to show this exact behavior, and it really helps to explain the scene.
    Posted 2 months ago
    1. Whoa, cool! Posted 2 months ago
      1. Depends on the perspective I suppose - the beetle might disagree ;o) Posted 2 months ago
        1. Let's just say I hope mankind never manages to reverse engineer how this works :)

          From what I read regarding the cordyceps fungi, which force hosts to climb upwards, they do not take over the brain or "control" it, instead they create a new neuro path (for lack of a better word) in the brain that creates the desire to climb, the existing brain knows how to do the actual climbing, and is not directly controlled like some sock puppet.

          Still, just as creepy. Wonder if that works the same here. Also really hoping this is only possible due to the simplicity of insect brains.
          Posted 2 months ago
          1. I think I remember reading on some (parasitic) organism's affecting the human brain (and behaviour) in similar ways, but I probably put that in some "forget for deniability reasons" drawer in my brain ... or maybe the darn parasite did that for me? ;o) Posted 2 months ago
            1. That would be brilliant. We can't decode this mechanism because we're already infected to never understand it. That turns things upside down, we were never running this place after all. Thanks for all the fish. Posted 2 months ago
    2. [v] :-) Posted 2 months ago

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''Dinocampus coccinellae'' is a braconid wasp parasite of coccinellid beetles, including the spotted lady beetle, ''Coleomegilla maculata''. ''D. coccinellae'' has been described as turning its ladybird host into a temporary "zombie" guarding the wasp cocoon. About 25% of ''Coleomegilla maculata'' recover after the cocoon they are guarding matures, although the proportion of other ladybird species which recover is much lower.

Species identified by Pudding4brains
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By Pudding4brains

Public Domain
Uploaded Dec 13, 2020. Captured in Dallingeweersterweg 29, 9947 TB Termunten, Netherlands.