Mind control wasp

species of insect

Hymenoepimecis argyraphaga is a Costa Rican parasitoid wasp whose host is the spider Plesiometa argyra. The wasp modifies the spider's web building behavior to make a web of very strong lines. This supports the wasp's cocoon without breaking in the rain.[2][3]

Hymenoepimecis argyraphaga
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Ichneumonidae
Genus: Hymenoepimecis
H. argyraphaga
Binomial name
Hymenoepimecis argyraphaga
Gauld, 2000[1]


The adult female wasp temporarily paralyzes the spider and lays an egg on its abdomen. The egg hatches into a larva. The larva sucks the spider's blood through small holes, while the spider goes on about its normal web building and insect catching behavior.

When the larva is ready to pupate, it injects a chemical into the spider. This causes the spider to build a web whose design is completely different from any it has ever made. Then the spider sits still in the middle of the web.[4][5]

The wasp larva then moults, kills the spider with a poison and sucks its body dry before discarding it and building a cocoon that hangs from the middle of the web the spider has just built. The larva pupates inside the cocoon, then emerges to mate and begin the cycle over again.


  1. Ian D. Gauld (2000). "The re-definition of pimpline genus Hymenoepimecis (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae) with a description of a plesiomorphic new Costa Rican species". Journal of Hymenoptera Research. 9: 213–219.
  2. Bellows, Alan (2005). "Mind-Controlling wasps and zombie spiders". Damn Interesting.com. Retrieved July 16, 2008.
  3. BBC Earth: the wasps that rule the world
  4. Salleh, Anna (2000). "Spider drugged by parasitic wasp". ABC Science Online. Retrieved July 10, 2008.
  5. Eberhard, William G. (2000). "Spider manipulation by a wasp larva" (PDF). Nature. 406 (6793): 255–256. Bibcode:2000Natur.406..255E. doi:10.1038/35018636. PMID 10917517. S2CID 4346139.