FEB 18, 2020 4:48 PM PST

This Wasp Turns Cockroaches Into Zombies for its Larvae

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

We can’t think of anyone that likes cockroaches, but one insect in particular seems to scout them out specifically for its own bizarre reasons. The emerald cockroach wasp, also sometimes called the jeweled cockroach wasp because of its colorful body that shines like that of a jewel, goes out of its way to seek out a viable cockroach host that it can use to ensure the survival of its larvae.

Upon locating a viable specimen, the emerald cockroach wasp slowly approaches the cockroach and delivers a number of stings. The first prevents the cockroach’s front legs from moving, while the second disables the insect’s flight response. After the venom sinks in, the cockroach begins grooming itself relentlessly while the wasp waits at a safe distance.

After the wasp determines that the cockroach is no longer a threat, it closes in again and severs its antennae. The wasp then drags the cockroach into its burrow, where it lays an egg on the insect’s body. Then, the wasp exits the burrow and seals it off, ensuring that its offspring can feast on the cockroach’s remains when it hatches.

Once a full month passes, the larva has fully grown, and it emerges from the sealed burrow ready to repeat the unusual reproductive process once again.

Related: Here's what would happen if we killed all the world's wasps

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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