- Not Exactly Rocket Science
The wasp that walks cockroaches
On Wednesday, I posted about a parasitic wasp that turns a caterpillar into both a living incubator and a zombie-like bodyguard for its larvae. Well, it seems to be a bumper week for wasp research; today, we have yet another demonstration of the amazing tactics used by these macabre parents to provision their young with food.
The stunning colours of the jewel wasp (Ampulex compressa) belie its gruesome habits. Its grubs feed on the bodies of cockroaches supplied by their mother. When a female wasp finds a roach, she stings it twice – once in its mid-section to immobilise its front legs, and the second directly into its brain. There, she pumps in a venom that stupefies the roach