Zombie Bug...What The Heck Was Going On?

Gavin Shreeves g.shreeves at netmatters.co.uk
Sat Sep 13 19:25:30 EDT 1997

In article <mulliga-1209971848060001 at oahu-863.u.aloha.net>,
mulliga at aloha.net (James Mulligan) wrote:

> ...Crossing my driveway was what looked like a wasp-type bug, only it was a
> bit thinner and a shimmering green in color.  He/She was walking backwards
> while leading, by the head, a cockroach.  The cockroach was a good bit
> bigger than the other bug...
> What was going on??? I'm assuming the waspy guy put some kind of poison
> into the cockroach... but what kind of poison makes a cockroach zombie?
> It was clearly alive and moving...but seemed to be lacking any sense of
> self-preservation.
   Yes, the cockroach has been zapped! Can't remember the name of the wasp
(it's a Sphecid "digger wasp" & its genus begins with an "A" I think..I've
seen metallic blue ones in Malaysia...can't remember name :( ) but I saw
one on a TV documentary doing just this - somehow the wasp manages to
poison her prey so its legs still move. She can just guide it along back
to her nest, lay an egg on it & it gets eaten alive by young wasp grub.
It's really a cool trick - the Sphecid wasps I'm more familiar with in the
U.K. paralyse their victims and then have the trouble of carrying/dragging
them back, but they're still good at putting the sting in just the right
spot to knock out some nerves & leave others (the victim has to be alive
to stay fresh, but unable to move so as not to hurt the little wasp grub).
Wasps are fun!

> Gavin Shreeves g.shreeves at netmatters.co.uk

Gavin Shreeves
University College London
ucbtges at ucl.ac.uk (work)
g.shreeves at netmatters.co.uk (home)

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