Wasp Larvae Practice Food Safety
Developing offspring employ an antimicrobial cocktail to cleanse their cockroach hosts.
(Read a related article on food safety in National Geographic magazine.)
When reproducing, emerald cockroach wasp mothers attach one egg to the leg of an American cockroach (Periplaneta americana). Once the egg hatches, the larva bores a hole in the insect and moves inside. There, it feeds on the roach's internal organs before spinning a cocoon within the carcass and eventually emerging as an adult wasp. (Watch a related video on the parasitic black wasp.)
However, due to the cockroach's unsanitary living conditions, many bacteria, viruses, and fungi also make their home on the cockroach, infecting the young wasp's only food source and threatening its survival.
"It was clear that a species that feeds on these cockroaches had to protect its