The Mummy Wasps of Ecuador

Despite being at the very peak of human society and technological advancements, it’s astounding to know that we still come across creatures and animals from all walks of life that we have never came across before. Insects are the most common type of life form to find this with because some of them look so similar and are quite small, making it hard for people outside of experts to spot something truly unique.

One of the most recent discoveries in Ecuador, however, is more than a little interesting. Following on from the famous history of mummified shrunken heads being kept by tribe members in Ecuador hundreds of years ago, there has been a discovery of a new form of wasp which appears to mummify its victims – usually caterpillars. Could this be where the inspiration came from all those years ago for the ancient tribes?mummy wasp

With 24 new species of the Aleiodes family of wasp having been discovered in this area of Ecuador, many of them were named after popular Ecuadorian artists and also famous personalities such as John Stewart and Jimmy Fallon. One of the types of wasp, called “Shakira” after the Colombian pop star, uses a very succinct form of attack to capture its victims. It causes caterpillars to bend into a very uncompromising shape and then a female will inject it with an egg. The larvae then grows inside the caterpillar and eventually mummifies it from the inside – truly gruesome.

The baby wasp then creates its own cocoon from the mummified remains and eventually comes out an adult. While this may sound likes the brutal killing of a harmless creature, these caterpillars are actually overgrown in this part of Ecuador and this stops them from eating through the plant life in the area rapidly.

You don’t need to worry, though, these wasps – of which nine seem to mummify people – have only been sighted in Ecuador so you don’t have to worry about dealing with anything quite so sinister in the comfort of your home!

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