Da Gulrz have had to listen to their dad gripe about Disney ad nauseum – especially its films’ treatment of nature. I’m constantly reminding my spawn that nature is not cute talking animals, but is in fact “red in tooth and claw.” With Gaia as my witness – I should be Father of the Year!
In my sequel to Brother Bear (story: human turned into bear, learns the evils of hunting, feasts on fish), salmon with pretty voices are killed by rapacious corporate bears who also destroy the fishes’ environment by defecating in the water.
In the prequel – assuming the franchise has legs – plankton and insects live in perfect harmony until one day, a pacific salmon working for the CIA hands out some cigarettes…
Well, imaging my delight in reading this:
Parasitic Wasp Employs Zombie Ladybug to Guard Cocoon
To quote esteemed mad scientist Seth Brundle, “Insects don’t have politics.” Theirs is a world of intricate brutality and wasps have been excelling in it for more than a hundred million years… [Political WASPs also excel in intricate brutality. – ed]
[Dinocampus coccinellae] not only hatches from its egg inside the belly of a ladybug, but upon emerging forces its eviscerated host to guard its cocoon while it transitions from larva to full-grown horror wasp… [hatching inside a host] is nothing out of the ordinary. But when it celebrates its Chest-Burst Mitzvah, that’s when it gets all weird and noteworthy. Normally, the host organism mercifully dies at this point, but DC’s ladybug is not so lucky. Not only does it live, but a little behavior modification forces it to hang around and “guard” its parasite-baby as it grows into adulthood beneath its protective bulk. Scientists believe that secretions left by the larva when it bursts out might play a role in reprograming the host.
But then the ladybug dies right? Surely once the wasp reaches adulthood, our long-suffering host can at last rest in peace. No such luck. This is the insect world, after all. The researchers found that 25 percent of the manipulated ladybugs recovered normal behavior following their ordeal.
I’m really hoping this makes it into the next PIXAR A Bug’s Life movie.