Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Voodo Wasps

While Malena has spent the day learning how to post video both on her Blog and the web, I have been having some long hours at the job, and so, the Wild Kingdom update, complete with pictures, I had planned, won't happen tonight. No, I STILL have no camera charger, Amazon finally sent me a note saying So sorry, can't help, out of stock, but I had planned to borrow a camera and get some shots of JL 1&2 and some Madame Mim Cat Wheel action.

We will have that adventure tomorrow, if all goes well.

For tonight, you may not know this, but it's pretty cool, and weird, and has to do with Zombies, which is always worth mentioning, so I thought we should have a bit of a chat. No doubt Danguy will make some Evil Use out of this information.

(if you want a soundtrack for this try Jonathon Coultron's "RE: Your Brains" if you don't know this song, you ought to. You will like it, it will make you happy.)

I read in New Scientist, one of the coolest magazines going, about, no I am not making this up, Zombie Caterpillars. Really and truly. It seems there is a parasitic Wasp that will find a Caterpillar, lay it's eggs IN the Caterpillar, and then, when they hatch, the babies eat their way out, common enough...

(the second scariest story I ever read was a story, can't recall the name, by Lisa Tuttle, in her short story collection, Nest of Nightmares, about a very similar situation.)

(ok, ok, the first scariest? Snow Glass Apples. Nuff said.)

But, get this, the Caterpillar does not die. It then GUARDS the Wasp babies, the Wasps go into a sort of cocoon, and the Caterpillar fight off anything trying to get them, until the babies emerge all grown. THEN they die. All on their own, with no Voodoo Wasp interference.

Zombies.

HERE is the article.

I was going to try and find pictures, and go a little more in depth, but it seems the Voodoo Wasps have their own YouTube Video already.

Of course they do.

Made a really fine Rhubarb Crumble tonight. My first.

And that's adventure enough.

Love and Zombies,
Lorraine

42 Comments:

At 10:25 PM , Blogger spacedlaw said...

Made Rhubarb Crumble?
So that where Martin has disappeared to? He could not find it in his shop anymore so made some for him?

Zombie caterpillar... There is potential. Of course I'd be tempted to think that the wasps have made a golem out of the caterpillar rather than a zombie but I suppose that's because I am closer to Mittel Europa than the Caribbeans.
I read something like that story the other day while I was researching Dr. Paul's nematodes for a drabble.

 
At 10:34 PM , Blogger FabulousLorraine said...

If you can read Dr Pauls thesis you are a wiser women than I . I tried...But of course you did, I am sure there is a story there...

Where is Mr MIllar indeed. I do admit to thinking of him while making the Crumble. If he lived closer I would fed ex it to him daily. I think writers need crumble.

 
At 10:35 PM , Blogger Bulfinch's Aglaia said...

I have to admit, Fablo, that I find the wasp story a little more gross than scary (although not as gross as stepping on a slug in bare feet, which is what I did about an hour ago, and am still totally going "eewwww!"). And I managed to electrocute my sweet little innocent laptop last night with a pair of nail clippers, sigh. Not on purpose, just holding them in my hand and accidently touching one of the ports or plug-in areas, and nothing exploded -- unfortunately? fortunately? you the folks at home decide -- but it's so dead. Will supposedly be fixed for free as it's still under warranty and be back in a couple of weeks, but I miss it already. It had all my cool music on it. And y'all is a contraction of "you all" so the apostrophe comes after the "y" and before the "all." And proper Southern speak would be "all y'all". :-) (No, it's not redundant, of course not . . .) Can't wait to see pictures, and do we need a recipe blog?? I've never eaten rhubarb.

 
At 10:55 PM , Blogger spacedlaw said...

And rhubarb!
I was so sad when our plant died last year. Most of my northern colleagues went envious when I brought rhubarb cakes in the office because it is not a plant usually found so far south. But I bought some new seeds and I intend to colonize the place with fat rhubarb plants.

I thought you were trying to set a trap for Martin with that rhubarb crumble.

 
At 10:56 PM , Blogger spacedlaw said...

Oh and I did not read his thesis, just researched what a nematode was because it sounded cool. And found some cook stuff - which had most likely NOTHING to do with the thesis - I used for a story.

 
At 11:07 PM , OpenID pantagruel said...

So the Zombie Caterpillar guards the wasp eggs while they hatch, after they've eaten their way out of it... You know, I think I've seen some relationships that could also describe. Voodoo Wasps sounds like a good band name.

Mmm, rhubarb. I haven't had that in years. Recipe blog would be fun.

Agiala, that's vexing about the laptop. ;/

 
At 12:01 AM , Blogger Rubius said...

eeeewwww ewewwww eeeewwwww... grossness. I don't like bugs... I don't like bug-guts... I don't like bug-slime (but I did expel some slugs from my deck this last while... they were eating my plants)... ewwwwwwww.... and I don't like the zombie wasps... but I try to learn as little as possible about the insect world because the more I know, the more it disturbs me. Stuff like how many spiders per square meter in your area (too many, especially in my building... but we are talking about hundreds per square meter in a rural area).. how many spiders you eat in your sleep per year (too many ... any would be too many)... how many types of beetles there are (lots... lots and lots and lots)... and reasons to avoid figs (no comment)... nuff said.

sorry to hear about the charger. looking forward to some pix whenever you can get them. What kind of charger do you need?

eeeewwwwwww shudders...

and yes, Snow Glass Apples... that is pretty good nightmare material. It may have been the first of Neil's stories that I ever read... and I definitely didn't know who he was at the time so it was QUITE a delightful surprise to discover much later on that it was Neil's. It has always stuck in my brain... even when I didn't know who had written it. I decided not to mention it in my children's lit class while we were discussing variant folktales. I was too shy to describe it in front of the class.

Rhubarb is good. I made a rhubarb crisp last weekend... and a yam-pie... and cinnamon-sugar cookies. It wasn't the healthiest of weekends but it was fun. Actually that came after a rhubarb-strawberry pie the weekend before. I may have over-rhubarbed (actually I didn't think that was possible.. but it may be). The customers and grocers in the Chinese fruit and veggi market on my block have repeatedly asked me how to cook it whenever they have seen me buying it. Apparently it is not grown or eaten in China. I wanted to grow rhubarb this year but I was talked out of it... since I only have a deck, my chances of success are limited, I suppose.

 
At 12:10 AM , Blogger spacedlaw said...

The area I grew up in (Lorraine, somewhere East and to the North of France) sort of has rhubarb as a garden pest: Everybody has a plant in their garden. Lovely huge leaves and pies in the winter time. Used to be nice and sharp too (proud, as they say there) but the cultivated variety has less flavour these days.

 
At 4:56 AM , Blogger Dan Guy said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 4:57 AM , Blogger Dan Guy said...

Ick ick ick. Things laying eggs in other things icks me out.

I heard about another type of voodo insect that burrows on of its legs or mandibles into the heads of bigger bugs and then drives them around like a car.

 
At 4:57 AM , Blogger Dan Guy said...

A moment of silence, please, for my euthanized double-post.


...

..

.

Okay, carry on.

 
At 5:25 AM , Blogger ivenotime said...

ewwwww on zombie bugs of any sort. eww on bugs in general and UGH AND YUCH on stepping on a slug which is one of the grossest shuddery things ever. i thought nematodes were something from a spongebob cartoon, hmmm, maybe i should step up my viewing/reading material..(finished good omens, just the sweetest ending ever) and rhubarb crumble sounds divine, i adore rhubarb, but the family doesn't, and truth be told i am not much of a baker, so that may have something to do with it..

 
At 6:26 AM , Blogger Phiala said...

Mmmmm... rhubarb crumble! Strawberry-rhubarb anything!
Mmmmmmm!

My favorite is the ant parasite (a fluke, maybe) that infects the ants, and takes over their tiny brains, forcing them to climb the tallest leaves of grass and clamp their jaws on tight at the top. And stay there. That way the grazing animals that are the next component of the fluke's life cycle are more likely to eat the ant, and the fluke can thrive.

Creepy, no?

Wandering on randomly, away from mind-eating parasites... I'm a Yankee, so I spell it the book way, but among Southerners I've known the "y'all" and "ya'll" thing is a matter of great and contentious debate. Even with the apostrophe in the grammatically-incorrect place, though, it beats the northern versions of the third person plural pronoun I've encountered - "youse", or worse, "you'uns", prounounced "yinz". Y'all sounds so much more genteel, don't you think? Where I was, "y'all" was the ordinary third-person plural pronoun, and the, er, collective third person plural "all of y'all" was used mostly for emphasis. "Would y'all like to come over for supper?" or "Would all of y'all quit yelling? I can't hear myself think!" I'm sure it varies regionally, though. And it's obvious that English needs its third person plural back, since it seems to have evolved naturally all over the place.

 
At 7:05 AM , Blogger FabulousLorraine said...

Y'all (is that the right one?) is WAY better than Youse, which , thankfully does not show up around here.

Recipes would be coo, but I don't use them. I will look at a bunch to see what other people do, but then I just sort of make it up.

It was a great crumble, I am having it for Breakfast.

Sorry for the icky bug story, it was more the idea that the Voodoo Wasp could control the thing after it ought to have been dead.

Promise LOTS of warm fuzzies tonight to make up for it!

(Demon Cats From Hell, kind of warm fuzzies)

 
At 7:21 AM , OpenID pantagruel said...

I'm afraid to ask how you dudes know so much about Zombie Bugs…

Hey, furry demons are warm and toasty, which is one of my favorite things about them! If purring is demonic, then I'm all for it.

Also, Spacedlaw saw some sketches I posted on my blog of a friend's show, and says now I must come see you and Paul play. (And, ostensibly, sketch you two.) I think I need to improve my quick sketching first, though -- any pose under five minutes just kicks the snot out of me, and those were 30- and 60-second poses in ink, so any mistakes live forever. Otherwise, you'll look at them and say, 'Wow, what an interesting dark blob,' and I'll say, 'Um, that's supposed to be your hat.' Not so much.

 
At 7:25 AM , OpenID notshakespeare said...

Do we know Re:Your Brains?

Heck, I've sung it at Karaoke!

 
At 7:28 AM , Blogger FabulousLorraine said...

Fun scetches! It would be easy to do Paul and I, hee-hee, we just sit there.

Notshakespere, you Karaoked RE: Your Brains?? I am in awe. How do you do with Skullcrusher Mountain? I so want to do that one....

We DO seem to know a lot about seriously weird bugs...

 
At 8:02 AM , Blogger Dan Guy said...

I love me some Coulton. I played "Re: Your Brains" for the kids when explaining the difference between zombies and vampires. (They used to get confused.)

I so want to hear you do Skullcrusher Mountain, Lorraine! I sing that one around the house all the time.

 
At 8:27 AM , Blogger Phiala said...

pantagruel said, "I'm afraid to ask how you dudes know so much about Zombie Bugs."

*blink* You want more examples? This stuff is cool! What good is an excessive number of biology degrees if you don't end up with tales of zombie bugs?

Or were you thinking that some of us were ZombieBugMasters? Now that would be fun!

 
At 8:47 AM , OpenID pantagruel said...

Sweet, staying fairly still while playing does improve the sketches immensely. It also really helps with portraits that you want to look like the person you're depicting. Funny, that. Well, anytime you want some sketches of you guys at a show, let me know, and then maybe we can see about the mural, too, if you like…

My favorite JoCo song of the moment is 'First of May,' which is… well, you'll just have to listen to it. ;)

And no, I want no more examples of Zombie Bugs, but don't let that stop you.

 
At 8:50 AM , Blogger Dan Guy said...

"Patience, my zombie wasp children, patience... Soon our time will come and we shall rise up and enslave the oppressors!"

 
At 10:12 AM , Blogger FabulousLorraine said...

Dan Guy is the Zombie Bug Master!!!!!

Now why doesn't this surprise me???

 
At 10:36 AM , Blogger Aleta said...

That is so fascinating. I love the video. New Scientist must go on the reading list. I can't help but wonder what the experience is like for the caterpillar.

This reminds me of photos my friend took of the emergence of a dragon fly. I really had no idea that this is how they came to be. Nature is so amazing!!

Oh man. Rhubarb Crumble. I love rhubarb.

 
At 10:55 AM , OpenID kali-licious said...

I like zombies, but zombie bugs? Not so much. Ew.

I made all my friends at work listen to RE: Your Brains and now they like Jonathan Coulton too. Muahahahaha!

I gotta admit though, while I love crumble, I'm not a fan of rhubarb. It's a texture thing. I'm more of a sour cherry person, or oooo I wonder if you could make mango crumble? That sounds good.

 
At 11:01 AM , Blogger Dan Guy said...

"You like voodo, you like insects, maybe it's voodo insects you don't like so much? Isn't it enough to know I ruined a perfectly good caterpillar making a hatching ground for you?! {repeat chorus}"

 
At 11:48 AM , Blogger EmilyLady said...

How did the crumble turn out? I've never had it but have heard wonderful things.

When I was about eleven, I would have been scared frozen if I were informed of the existence of Zombie Caterpillars. Nothing scared me more than the idea of living corpses, and the word zombies freaked me out. This was my R.L. Stine phase.

~Emily

 
At 11:56 AM , OpenID pantagruel said...

Nice one, Dan Guy. :)

What IS it with zombies lately? I'm supposed to do a portrait of Wil Wheaton and his wife as zombies (I have no idea why either), and am stumped on how to make the wife look hot and alluring… as a zombie. Those two things don't go together, on my planet. What is the appeal of zombies? Please advise.

 
At 12:32 PM , Blogger Kitty Cat said...

ahhh Quichey, I just read about your Knife and Meat Incident. so glad there was not a worse ending, girl.
those knives are somehow....trouble-makers...

as for the caterpillars, i still haven't recovered from seeing ALIEN when i was a little too little and impressionable. although it remains one of my favorite films...super scary in a voodoo waspy caterpillar way.
xoxox

 
At 12:40 PM , Blogger spacedlaw said...

You can make mango crumble. Or mango tarte Tatin.
Now I am drooling over the keyboard and there's Kitty talking about alien (another droolign creature)...

Attraction of zombie? Not sure. Big eyes?

 
At 1:43 PM , Blogger ariandalen said...

I've only had rhubarb once, in pie, and only a bite to taste. It was at a Marie Callendar's restaurant. I didn't grow up eating it, or seeing it prepared. My mother couldn't stand rhubarb as she grew up being forced to take a Spring Tonic of rhubarb and castor oil. She did not pass that tradition down.

Pantagruel, there is an Alan Parsons Project album cover that has two beautiful women on it with hats and mesh veils. They appear very desirable from a distance, but if you look closely there are STD lesions on/near their mouths. The title of the album is "Eve." Might be worth a look.

As a native Texan, I prefer "ya'll," as I contend that "ya" is "you" slurred and the apostrophe stands for the "a" in all. In contractions, it seems to me, it is the second word that is shortened. I don't remember seeing "y'all" until the last ten years or so. We had this debate a couple of months ago at the spinners and weavers guild I belong to, with the native Texans going with "ya'll" and the naturalized Texans going with "y'all." I will note that the spell checker here on Blogger is red underlining "ya'll," but not "y'all." ::shrug:: I've never heard anyone say "all of ya'll," but I have heard "all ya'll."

So...anyone wanna gweet? ;)

 
At 1:57 PM , Blogger Rubius said...

the eyes??? zombies don't even have to HAVE eyes... I thought the attraction was in the humour of it... albeit you may have to have a strange sense of humour to see zombies as funny... I particularly love zombie walks. I made myself go downtown for the zombie walk last year... there is just nothing like seeing a horde of the undead wandering around downtown. hehehehe... I like the imagination that goes into it.

nice sketches pantagruel. May I suggest... Zombies don't have to be ugly... they just might have rotten skin tone, etc... although unsightly gashes always work too. The most important thing to remember is 'BRAAAIIINNNSSSSS'

erm... what's a gweet?

 
At 2:17 PM , Blogger ivenotime said...

hmmm seconds on what is a gweet? i am embarassed to say that growing up as a south side chicagoan, not only did we say "youse", but it was always "youse guys" - which isn't even that easy to say! it still slips out from time to time, alongside the michigan y'all. i seriously want some rhubarb, the crumble talk is making me drool......

 
At 2:27 PM , OpenID kali-licious said...

Pantagruel, maybe you could use the Living Dead Girlz for reference?
www.livingdeadgirlz.com

 
At 2:56 PM , Blogger EmilyLady said...

Ariandalen, "gweet" sounds more like how many Rhode Islanders speak! They also say "wawta" for "water" and the like. There is much slurring in this state. Truth be told I find the Rhode Island accent grating, because it sounds like a thinner, less refined version of the Boston accent. I love Southern speech, though.

"Gweet", everyone, is not a noun. It means to "go eat".

~Emily

 
At 3:21 PM , OpenID pantagruel said...

How did I just know that this would be the place to ask about making zombie women look hot? Thanks for the help. :)

 
At 4:04 PM , Blogger ivenotime said...

Pantagruel, be sure to link the drawings when you're done! We would love to see the finished product!

 
At 6:15 PM , Blogger FabulousLorraine said...

Way to take a subject and run with it!

I remember Alien, Kitty, we must watch it when you come home. I saw it when I was too young, and never again, but loved it...

I am going home soon and will try for some pics!

 
At 6:19 PM , Blogger FabulousLorraine said...

And oh, If you haven't heard Lorraine Bowen doing her Crumble song, go you, and find it....

 
At 9:27 PM , OpenID notshakespeare said...

Unfortunately, Skull Crusher Mountain is too high for me to do at Karaoke.

 
At 7:14 AM , Blogger ariandalen said...

Yes! Emily has it right!

"You wanna gweet?" means "Do you want to go eat?"

I also admit to using the phrase "fixin' to," as in, "I'm fixin' to go to the store." Though I don't think I've ever used "reckon."

Of course, there are days when, "IF I had a brain, I'd take it out and play with it." ;)

 
At 8:15 AM , Blogger spacedlaw said...

I had thought for a moment that "gweet" was the pronunciation of "grits" - another southern delicacy.

Fancy a place where they organise zombie walks! Mind boggling (Braiiiins boggling more like)

 
At 11:14 AM , Anonymous DragonOfWood said...

I've heard of this before...but then much to the dismay of I'm sure many on the thread, things I studied/worked with in my UG/Graduate work, I'm sure would make most say "ick".

If I recall it's rather an amazing system really. The young wasp (larvae) eat the non-essential systems first, obviously skipping over something like the nervous system. Eventually they burrow out of the caterpillar and form the "cocoon" for the pupal stage. That is when the caterpillar looks like it's hauling around these q-tip-like projections.

"Gross" as it may be to some, without these wasps (there are a number of groups of parasatoid wasps) acting as a "natural insect control system" things would be easily over-run by the eating machines known as caterpillars (and there are species that go after beetle larvae beneath bark as well).

Let's not even mention the nematodes, "horsehair" or Gordians (Nematomorpha), this group of flies that are parasatoids on spiders (there is a family of Wasps, the Pompillidae known as Spider Wasps that contains our largest North American wasp the "Tarantula Hawk") etc.

But you want the definition of "gross"...look up Bot Flies (including the Human Bot Fly)...

Sorry...I'll stop since I'm beginning to ramble now...

;-)



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