Nature and Zombies

The world has been saturated with the Zombie fad. Images of bloody mouths, drooping eyes and hanging arms are affecting the world both mentally and emotionally. The freaky walking dead are on televisions, feature films, games, comic books,Cons, and coming from the Seattle area, almost every Indie short film you find. Why then did it not surprise me to see the word ZOMBIE on this 640px-Zombie_haiti_ill_artlibre_jnlmonth’s National Geographic Magazine?

Of course I had to grab the magazine before my husband had a chance to read it. All sorts of questions attacked my mind. Has science now proven the phenomenon of Zombies? Did they discover a tomb in Egypt filled with mummies protecting their golden urns? Did a zombie materialize in a test tube or open a coffin somewhere?

Evidently not, or if so it hasn’t hit mainstream media yet. But the concept of a foreign creature occupying a body other than its own has been a scientific wonder  for sometime.These monsters are, of course, called parasites and in nature they do the most peculiar (and horrid) things.

Take for instance the larvae of a horsehair worm that enters a cricket. We all know that crickets live on land. Well the horsehair worm’s life cycle needs water. So get this, and it’s as horrific as any Zombie story, when the horsehair worm is ready to emerge, it alters the cricket’s mind to commit suicide by drowning. Once the poor creature has submerged into a body of water and met it’s death, the horsehair worm emerges into its habitat.

Interesting idea for a Zombie story, eh?

Here’s another mind sucking creature. It’s a wasp that stings a ladybug and inserts one of it’s eggs. Once hatched, the larvae eats the ladybug inside out. That’s not all though. When the larvae emerges, it spins it’s cocoon around the ladybug’s legs and in so doing is protected from predators. Amazingly some ladybugs survive this ordeal and can return to their natural state after the wasp leaves.

Nature is filled with Zombies, as the National Geographic calls them, using the Haitian concept that refers to the zombie as “remaining under the control of the bokor as their personal slaves, since they have no will of their own.” (Wikipedia)

orbwebThere’s a spider (Leucauge argyra) living in Costa Rica that spends it’s days weaving a beautiful orb web, tweb2he kind worthy to photograph on a dewy morning. This industrious spider weaves it’s trap dutifully to capture insects for a daily meal. But when a certain wasp attacks, the spider succumbs to its will. The wasp glues it’s eggs to the spider’s abdomen and when the young larvae emerge, they poke holes in the spider and suck it’s blood. Then, when the larvae reach full size the spider bows to the wasps’ will, rips its beautiful orb to shreds and builds another web more suiting for the larvae, one that consists of ropes strong enough for the larvae to suspend a cocoon on and dangle in the air, thus protecting the wasp babies from predators.


I think nature surely out-plots us all when it comes to oddities. Solomon said “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.”

Nope. Not even Zombies!

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