Wasps That Know How to Mummify

Twenty-four types of wasp capable of mummifying caterpillars have been identified in the cloud forests of Ecuador. Although these wasps are as small as 4 to 9 millimeters in size, they nonetheless make an important contribution to maintaining the forest ecobalance.

The characteristic of Aleiodes wasps is that they live off caterpillars in the forest. Female wasps inject their eggs into a suitable caterpillar when they find one. The injected egg does not kill the caterpillar at once, but as the egg feeds the caterpillar shrinks in size and becomes mummified. The immature wasp uses the rest of the caterpillar’s body to prepare its own cocoon and thus completes its development. Once its development is complete, it has become a mature wasp. It cuts a hole in the body of the mummified caterpillar, emerges and mates.

Aeiodes wasps survive through their use of caterpillar bodies, behavior described as ‘parasitic.’ At the same time, the number of caterpillars, which feed on plants, is kept in equilibrium in the forest. It is God Who inspires these features in Aleiodes wasps so they can survive. The way these tiny wasps mummify caterpillars reveals the perfection in God’s creation. God notes the flawlessness in that creation as follows in one verse:  

“He is God – the Creator, the Maker, the Giver of Form. To Him belong the Most Beautiful Names. Everything in the heavens and earth glorifies Him. He is the Almighty, the All-Wise.” (Surat al-Hashr, 24)

2014-06-02 02:52:56

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