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Can You Host

Can You Host


Can You Host?, 2021

60 x 76  cm

Acrylic on canvas


Most parasitoid wasps infect their Lepidoptera host during the larval stage. Upon overpowering the caterpillar, the wasp injects venom to paralyse the host along with polydnaviruses and ovarian proteins which protect the larva from the host’s immune system. Polydnaviruses are a group of insect viruses that have a mutual relationship with the parasite. This relationship is obligatory as the virus aids the wasp greatly in procreating and in turn the virus survives by being passed down through the parasite’s genome. The wasp and the virus ensure each other’s survival. From a long stem emerging from the thorax, the ovipositor, the wasp then deposits its young into the body of the host.

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