Friday, 11 January 2013

Baby Wasps Disinfect Cockroaches Before Eating Them

If cockroaches had nightmares, the emerald cockroach wasp surely would deserve a prominent place therein.

These colorful, tiny parasitic wasps sting American cockroaches twice, once in the midsection to prevent them from running away, and a second time directly in the brain, to make the insects sluggish and zombielike. The wasps then drag the roaches by their antenna, akin to a human pulling a dog on a leash, into a protected nook and lay an egg on the roach. The egg ultimately hatches into larvae that devour the roach from the inside out.

About six weeks later, a young adult wasp emerges after spinning a cocoon inside the shell of the roach. But there's a catch: What's to prevent the cockroach "meat" from spoiling? Cockroaches are notoriously dirty animals, covered in bacteria that begin to spoil their flesh — and threaten to harm larval wasps — during this long incubation period.


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