Monday, September 8, 2014

Painful Symbiosis

Parasitism symbiosis is a type of relationship where the parasite benefits from its host, but the host is hurt. The host serves as food or a shelter to the parasite and receives no benefits while the parasite harms or kills its host. The host is not always killed during the process, but in many cases they are. A perfect example of parasitism symbiosis is the relationship between the Catalpa Worm and Wasp Larvae. 

Shown in the picture on the left is a Catalpa Worm. Shown in the picture on the right is a Wasp Larvae.

While parasitism can be kind of a negative concept, there are also benefits to its surroundings for other species. Catalpa worms feed off of Catalpa trees by eating their leaves. These worms cover the trees and upset many people because they eat so much of the trees that it can sometimes kill its foliage. Many people believe the relationship between the catalpa worm and the wasp larvae is a blessing because the larvae is seen as an insecticide.  


Shown in the picture above is the host and the parasites taking over. 

In this specific relationship, a female wasp stings the worm and injects her eggs inside the worms body. Soon after, the eggs hatch and become wasp larvae and start to feed off of the worm's insides. When the larvae are ready to transform themselves, or pupate, they begin by eating their way out of the worm's body. Once they break through the body of the worm, they begin to spin small cocoons that attach on the worm's outside remnants. Even though the worms die over time, they are typically still alive while the cocoons are still attached to its back. Once the wasps hatch from their cocoons, the new generation goes to find other worms to lay their eggs in. This process then recycles over, and over again. 


-"Symbiosis." Symbiosis. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Sept. 2014.

-"Catalpa Worm – Identification | Walter Reeves: The Georgia Gardener."Catalpa Worm – Identification | Walter Reeves: The Georgia Gardener. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Sept. 2014.

-"Larva - BugGuide.Net." Larva - BugGuide.Net. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Sept. 2014.

-"Catalpa Worms and PARASITIC Wasps." Home Guides. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Sept. 2014.