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Sunday, November 05, 2017

Parasite Wasps and Venom Origins

We know about predators in the wild: a lion sees a gazelle, kills, eats. A cousin of the predator is the parasite, which does not kill the (usually unwilling) host outright, but depends on the host for its own survival. It may eventually kill the host. There are predators and parasites in the world of insects. A particularly nasty form is in the form of parasitoid wasps.


Credit: CSIRO science image
Some people wonder, "What good are wasps and their other stinging relatives? They don't make honey, and a hornet packs a mighty big punch in its stinger." Well, I certainly don't want their company, either. But they do have uses of which we are unaware, such as controlling other insect pests and doing pollination. Some of that control comes from predation — and parasitism. 

They parasitoid wasps (many of which are extremely small) immobilize and even control the host through venom. Then it places eggs in or on the hapless host, and when they hatch, they feed on it. When the host dies, they don't pay it no nevermind, its services are no longer required. Kind of makes me reluctant to use the word host in polite society, because human hosts for shindigs are willing and tend to survive the events.

Someone pointed out that the "face hugger" in the first Alien movie was parasitoid, as the unfortunate crew member discovered. Didn't it happen in Alien 3, too, with Sigourney Weaver's character as she was sacrificing herself? Then they brought her back in the next sequel as a clone; the same thing only different. Being parasitoidal (is that a real word?) is similar to what evolutionary conjectures do to real science, if you study on it.

Anyway, the parasitoid term is an evolutionary classification. Not because of science, but because of wishful thinking and ipse dixit. Whoopsie daisy! Y'all can tell I got a mite involved in doing research before posting to the main article about serious scientific research on venom. Where did venom originate? Evolutionists learn more and can explain less, as the genetics and varieties involved in venom are beyond their ken. Still they give homage to Darwin, blessed be! How did attack-defense mechanisms with venom occur when creation was very good in the beginning? Biblical creationists have some reasonable speculations to offer.
Providing food for one’s younglings is perhaps a mother’s most basic job, even for a mother wasp. Parasitoid wasps do this in a rather gruesome way. They lay their eggs in or on another arthropod, like a caterpillar, cockroach, or spider. When the eggs hatch, their parasitic larvae slowly consume the victim’s body, deriving nourishment and protection until they are ready to go forth into the world as adult wasps.
Parasitoid wasps are a diverse and abundant component of agricultural ecosystems. They are only parasitic while in their larval stage. While some parasitoid wasps target invertebrates that we humans “like,” the majority of the estimated 600,000 species prey upon pests that attack our food crops, making them our allies despite their ghoulish habits.
To read the rest, click on "Parasitoid Wasps Shed Light on the Origin of Venom". Also, a short, fascinating, and somewhat grisly video is below.