Wasps suck. Unlike many common species of bees, wasps (which are NOT bees) are often openly hostile, and sometimes they seem to pick a fight with you just for the fun of it. You probably don’t need any more reasons to dislike them, but just in case you do, scientists just discovered a new wasp species in the Amazon that looks like it was designed specifically to evoke fear and disdain in equal measure.
The creature, which was discovered by researchers from Finland’s University of Turku, has all the classic features of a wasp; a narrow body equipped with long, thin wings, and a head covered with two huge compound eyes. It also has a stinger. Oh boy, does it have a stinger.
The species official name is Clistopyga crassicaudata, and it’s managed to capture the imaginations of both the scientific community and the general public thanks to its huge, sword-like stinger.
The weapon is long but it’s also very wide which makes it unique among wasps. Female wasps use their stinger as a dual-purpose tool to lay eggs, and this new species is no different. However, instead of laying their eggs in an isolated area or depositing them on a felled foe so that the larva can snag a quick meal after hatching, the newly discovered species actually injects their eggs into the bodies of the spiders they prey on, as well as spider egg sacks.
Before performing the deed, the wasp injects the host spider with a shot of venom, immobilizing it but not outright killing it. The eggs are injected into its body and, as the spider rests in a hellish state of limbo, the eggs eventually hatch and the larva munches its way out of the spider’s body from the inside. When using an egg sack instead of an adult spider, the wasp eggs hatch before the spiders’ and feast on the unborn arachnids.
It’s all very horrifying, but hey, that’s nature!