Fascinating critters, if admittedly an excellent source for nightmare fuel:
Wasps of the genus Sphex (commonly known as digger wasps) are cosmopolitan predators of the family Sphecidae that sting and paralyze prey insects. There are over 130 known digger wasp species. In preparation for egg laying, they construct a protected “nest” (some species dig nests in the ground, while others use pre-existing holes) and then stock it with captured insects. Typically, the prey are left alive, but paralyzed by wasp toxins. The wasps lay their eggs in the provisioned nest. When the wasp larvae hatch, they feed on the paralyzed insects.
Thank goodness that insects aren’t sentient, as far as we know: the thought of a free-willed, self-aware individual trapped and paralyzed, watching as something alien literally battened on its flesh – well, I’m not ashamed to say that the thought of such a thing gives me the chills. Especially since it’s all done in the dark, where nobody can see. And what makes it truly horrific is that while the ‘host’ doesn’t know what’s happening to it, the observer does, adding a grim inevitability to the coming proxy anagnorisis… (more…)