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Parasitism between Cotesia congregata and Manduca sexta    For the larvae of the wasp Cotesia congregata to complete their first stage of development, they obtain nutrients from the blood belonging to the tobacco hornworm Manduca sexta (Adamo et al. 2016). This parasitism occurs due to the polydnavirus Cotesia congregata bracovirus (CcBV) being incorporated into the genome of C. congregata for transmission to their offspring (Jancek et al. 2013).  Another form of CcBV is also produced in the ovaries of C. congregata to infect the host and render the immune system of M. sexta incapable of destroying the wasp larvae (Jancek et al 2013).    The control that C. congregata larvae hold over M. sexta during emergence from the host exemplifies parasitism.  As the developing wasp larvae prepare to exit their host, M. sexta experiences an increased immune response where cytokines are overproduced and their hunger is suppressed permanently (Adamo et al. 2016). Only a temporary suppression of hunger was observed in the immune responses of M. sexta lacking parasites (Adamo et al. 2016). This suggests that C. congregata can utilize the immune system of M. sexta to assist with their emergence from the host.  Additionally, increased amounts of neuropeptides were found in the supraesophageal ganglion of M. sexta three days after the larvae had left the host, suggesting that the parasite had lasting neurological effects on M. sexta (Adamo et al. 2016).  These effects may account for the lack of mobility of the host during the larvae emergence and the role of M. sexta as protector during the pupa stage of C. congregata. Adamo, S., Kovalko, I., Turnbull, K., Easy, R., Miles, C. 2016. The Parasitic wasp Cotesia congregata uses multiple mechanisms to control host (Manduca sexta) behavior. Journal of Experimental Biology 219: 3750-3758.Jancek, S., Bézier, A., Gayral, P., Paillusson, C., Kaiser, L., Dupas, S., Pierre Le Ru, B., Barbe, V., Periquet, G., Drezen, J., Herniou, E. 2013. Adaptive Selection on Bracovirus Genomes drives the Specialization of Cotesia Parasitoid Wasps. PLoS One 8(5): e64432.

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