Thursday, May 16, 2024

Success Has Success to Blame

Still thinking about the combination
Of virus, egg, and venom creating
Efficiency for parasitoid wasps

While attracting hyperparasitoids
To do you know what to them—not revenge,
Just a new layer of exploitation,

Using the same principles as before
But taking advantage of the signals
The involvement of virus created.

Here the virus was such a winning trick
For the parasitoid wasp, evolving
To make the host’s immune system weaker

But also to make the host eat faster!
Yet now the host’s host, the poor plant, emits
Chemical distress at being devoured

So voraciously, inviting the new,
Hyperparasitoid wasp to descend
On the hungry, hungry caterpillar

And lay its eggs in the first wasp’s larvae
(It now goes, wasp, wasp, caterpillar, plant,
If you’re keeping score of the hosts at home),

And what’s on your mind, honestly, isn’t
The science or the horror of it all,
Not at the moment, but what you would call

The necessity of unintended
Consequences—if egg-virus-venom
Had been a human invention—the trick

That enhances one problem’s solution
And inevitably somehow invites
A new problem, no kin to the first one.

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