Photo taken in Jacques Brodeur’s lab on the cover of National Geographic!

03-zombie-ladybug-668v-01An unprecedented discovery made by Jacques Brodeur and his team is featured on the cover of National Geographic’s November 2014 issue. The magnificent photo illustrates a very special relationship: a ladybug (Coleomegilla maculata) protecting the cocoon of a parasitoid wasp (Dinocampus coccinellae). In order to reproduce, the wasp lays an egg inside the abdomen of a ladybug. The larva develops up to a certain stage, then squeezes out of the ladybug’s body and spins its cocoon between its legs. To ensure its own survival, the wasp larva manipulates the ladybug into acting as its “bodyguard”. Paralyzed on top of the cocoon, the ladybug scares away the wasp’s potential enemies by means of its aposematic colors and jerking movements. Once the wasp emerges from the cocoon, the ladybug “bodyguard” may resume its usual activities (hunting for food, reproduction). Observation of this unique phenomenon in the Brodeur lab will make it possible to document the mechanisms of this “predatory” relationship more precisely. To learn more:

http://entomologytoday.org/2014/10/24/zombie-ladybugs-protect-their-own-predators/

http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2014/11/mindsuckers/zimmer-text