The more sadistic among you might enjoy this. When reading The Greatest Show on Earth by Richard Dawkins, I came across a reference to the Ichneumon wasp. This creature was so cruel, it was almost repellent. Since reading about it a few weeks back, I find myself thinking about it time and again. An ominous reminder that kindness is not one of nature's virtues. I have been meaning to share this anecdote for a time. So here goes -
Ichneumon wasps, with their habit of paralysing but not killing their victim, before laying an egg in it with the promise of a larva gnawing it hollow from within, and the cruelty of nature generally, were major preoccupations of Victorian theodicy. It's easy to see why. The female wasps lay their eggs in live insect prey, such as caterpillars, but not before carefully seeking out with their sting each nerve ganglion in turn, in such a way that the prey is paralysed, but still stays alive. It must be kept alive to provide fresh meat for the growing wasp larva feeding inside. And the larva, for its part, takes care to eat the internal organs in a judicious order. It begins by taking out the fat bodies and digestive organs, leaving the vital heart and nervous system till last - they are necessary, you see, to keep the caterpillar alive. ... I don't know whether caterpillars can feel pain. I devoutly hope not.
Bon appetit, baby wasp!