National Geo: "Extreme" animal embryos

Seen above are parasitic wasp embryos, which apparently inspired the "alien birth" in Alien. From National Geographic's photo gallery of "'Extreme' Animal Embryos Revealed'":
In a biological attack unique in the animal world, the unassuming embryos (injected by their mother into a caterpillar) use a virus in their DNA to paralyze their host. They bite their way out of the caterpillar and begin spinning cocoons.

As a final insult to the injured host, the caterpillar--apparently brain-addled by the virus--builds a silky blanket over its attackers and defends them against predators until the wasps emerge, fully formed, and take to the skies.
"IN THE WOMB: 'Extreme' Animal Embryos Revealed"


  1. Eww… I’d rather eat those than crinkle-cut fries, any day of the week… someone should tell Del Taco to quit passing off high school cafeteria fare as “food”.

  2. Yes, but this is a stage mockup. Watch the video, you can tell that they are man made mockups. But very gross, and very extreme!

  3. Crinkle cut fries are goooood. You should try some Burger Box.

    But as far as I’ve ever heard, larvae is yummy fried. I’d try it!

  4. yeah… the wasp thing was very very disturbing (even if it was a mock up). DO we really need wasps in the ecosystem (I mean what do they do for the ecosystem)? If not, I would just like to get rid of them because they’re mean & scary. *shivers*

  5. Wasps pollinate, but they also kill caterpillars and spiders, keeping the ecosystem in check. Pretty much every predator keeps another from over producing.

    Personally more fond of wasps than caterpillars.

  6. I like spiders, they eat flies and provide entertainment for my family. We’ve got a huge wolf spider in our living room that’s been scaring off mice!

    Anyway, here are some pics I took of a wasp recruiting a spider to host its babies. The spider put up a helluva fight, six legs were paralysed but it still pushed back the wasp.

    Afterwards I squashed both of them.

  7. Thank you, boingboing, for providing a parasitic wasp embryo chaser to soothe our scarred eyeballs after inflicting a Glenn Beck video on us in the previous post.

  8. Actually, any gardeners out there who fancy growing tomatoes should be all in favour of parasitic wasps & their delectation for live caterpillar hosts. One of the finest sights you can behold is a tomato hornworm/five-spotted hawkmoth larva, with the pupa of a parasitic wasp already visible along it’s back- a marvellous biological control for caterpillars with bottomless appetites for prized tomato plants.

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