MAY 29, 2015 8:52 PM PDT

This Cockroach-Eating Wasp Controls its Prey's Mind Before Devouring it

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

In the Mekong region of Thailand, you will find a really unique species of wasp that hunts and devours cockroaches in probably the weirdest way you've ever seen.

This wasp has officially been given the name "Ampulex Dementor," which is a name that has spun off from the black floating dementors in the popular Harry Potter movies.

The Ampulex Dementor wasp in all of its mind-controlling glory.

The reasoning behind the name is because of the unique way that the wasp hunts and eats cockroaches. The wasp actually injects a toxin into the cockroach's brain with a single sting, which ultimately renders it completely unable to resist the wasp's control.

"A dementor hunts cockroaches, injecting a venom into the mass of neurons on its prey's belly that turns the roach into a passive zombie," writes the World Wildlife Fund. "Cockroach wasp venom blocks receptors of the neurotransmitter octopamine, which is involved in the initiation of spontaneous movement."

Then, like a zombie, the wasp-assisted cockroach walks to its demise where it will be devoured by the wasp and its larvae. The wasp uses the cockroach's antennas as handles to pull on and move the cockroach where it wants the cockroach to go:

"With this blocked, the cockroach is still capable of movement, but is unable to direct its own body. Once the cockroach has lost control, the wasp drags its stupefied prey by the antennae to a safe shelter to devour it."

It's actually quite fascinating how the wasp is able to play mind control with the cockroach by stinging it.

The Dementor wasp is just one of 139 new species that were discovered in the Mekong region last year by a group of German scientists, as WWF reports.

YouTube videos, such as the one below, illustrate that some people have known about the wasp for quite some time despite the fact that it just never had an official name. The video also shows how the wasp attacks a cockroach:

While it's nice to know that there's one more thing in this world that can help do away with those nasty little cockroaches, it's still just spine chilling to think about how they manage to do it.

Source: Washington Post, WWF

About the Author
Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
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