Parasitoid Wasps: Neuroethology

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingEntry for encyclopedia/dictionarypeer-review


Unlike other venomous predators, some parasitoid wasps manufacture venoms to manipulate the host nervous system in ways that are tailored to the developmental needs of their offspring. The direct manipulation of the host nervous system and behavior may take several forms. In some instances, the venom is purely paralytic, affecting either the peripheral or central nervous system to induce true paralysis, which can be transient or long-lasting. In other instances, the venom induces a neurochemical manipulation of specific behaviors of the host. In this article, I discuss selected case studies where the neural mechanisms underlying host manipulation have been identified. I then focus on one case study where a wasp hijacks the brain of its host to control its motivation to perform specific behaviors.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Animal Behavior
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages9
ISBN (Print)9780080453378
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Amines
  • Brain
  • Cockroach
  • Neuronal circuit
  • Neurons
  • Neurotoxins
  • Parasitoid
  • Subesophageal ganglion
  • Synaptic transmission
  • Venom
  • Wasp

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (all)


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