zombie cockroaches love

zombie cockroaches

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  • Females of the Costa Rican wasp Hymenoepimecis argyraphaga lay their eggs on the abdomens of unlucky orb spiders called Plesiometa argyra.

    When the female jewel wasp is ready to procreate, she finds a cockroach to serve as a living nursery for her young.

    First, she injects a toxin into the roach that paralyzes its front legs. Then the wasp strikes again in the roach's head. Frederic Libersat of Ben-Gurion University in Israel and colleagues discovered that the venom targets a specific area of the brain responsible for initiating movement.

    Stripped of its ability to move of its own free will, the cockroach can be grabbed by the antenna and guided to a burrow, where the wasp will lay her egg on the victim and entomb them together. (Read more about how zombie roaches lose free will because of wasp venom.)

    The wasp larva slowly consumes the cockroach for several days before pupating in its abdomen, emerging as an adult about a month later.

    March 6, 2017