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This Wasp Will Suck Your Soul — if You’re a Cockroach

posted: 05/27/15
by: Danny Clemens
Ampulex dementor
B. Schurian, MfN

Cockroaches, beware! This insect-hunting wasp (Ampulex dementor) will take your life in the worst way possible -- by making you a zombie.

A. dementor comes fully equipped with a highly toxic venom that it injects into the stomach of its prey. The venom blocks the cockroach's receptors of the neurotransmitter octopamine, leaving it unable to consciously control its body. The cockroach is technically still alive and capable of movement, but the wasp's venom leaves its brain unable to communicate completely with the rest of its body.

With its prey appropriately subdued, the cockroach wasp drags its next meal by the antennae to a safe haven, where it can feast uninterrupted.

The wasp's name is the result of a public contest held by Germany's Museum fur Naturkunde, which exhibited the creature after its taxonomic description. It pays homage to the Dementors, characters from the Harry Potter series who suck the thoughts and emotions from their prey, leaving them psychologically hollow -- much like the wasp and its cockroach.

Click here to read the full study detailing the wasp's naming

Learn more about insects:

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Why Don't Cockroaches Die?
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