The Wasp and the Zombie Cockroach

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    Ampulex compressa is a wasp that temporarily paralyzes a roach by inserting a venom into it’s abdomen. The wasp then climbs upon the roach where it performs delicate and highly specific brain surgery.

    It inserts a stinger into a small area of it’s brain to disable it’s will to travel. The wasp then uses the roach’s antennae to steer the roach to its lair, where it can lay its egg in it.

    Parasite Rex author Carl Zimmer tells the story in graphic detail:

    The wasp slips her stinger through the roach’s exoskeleton and directly into its brain. She apparently use ssensors along the sides of the stinger to guide it through the brain, a bit like a surgeon snaking his way to an appendix with a laparoscope. She continues to probe the roach’s brain until she reaches one particular spot that appears to control the escape reflex. She injects a SECOND venom that influences these neurons in such a way that the escape reflex disappears.

    From the outside, the effect is surreal. The wasp does not paralyze the cockroach. (the original very short acting venom previously injected into the abdomen has ceased to function already.) In fact, the roach is able to lift up its front legs again and walk. But now it cannot move of its own accord. The wasp takes hold of one of the roach’s antennae and leads it–in the words of Israeli scientists who study Ampulex–like a dog on a leash.

    The zombie roach crawls where its master leads, which turns out to be the wasp’s burrow. The roach creeps obediently into the burrow and sits there quietly, while the wasp plugs up the burrow with pebbles. Now the wasp turns to the roach once more and lays an egg on its underside. The roach does not resist. The egg hatches, and the larva chews a hole in the side of the roach. In it goes.

    The larva grows inside the roach, devouring the organs of its host, for about eight days. It is then ready to weave itself a cocoon–which it makes within the roach as well. After four more weeks, the wasp grows to an adult. It breaks out of its cocoon, and out of the roach as well.

    The study recently appeared in the Journal of Experimental Biology.


    other articles about this wasp note that the brain venom’s effects last an extremely long time (more than a month), not only disabling the roach, but by allowing it to live while its will to move is gone, it does not rot during the time the baby wasp is developing.

    also think about how the wasp knows how to do all this, not only the precise surgery (for which it is fitted with the exactly right tools) but how to grasp the antennae, how to know that turning them in such a way will lead the roach to travel in such a such direction, how the roach is built to force it to move in certain ways when it’s antennae are pulled in a certain manner and direction, how the wasp knows when and how to block it’s lair with pebbles, how the fluids and body of the roach provide the exactly singular environment for the little baby wasp to grow, etc, etc, etc. how the whole process is a symphony of cooperation of the physiology of the wasp and the roach, just as everything in the creation cooperates in one vastly, almost infinite, harmonious song of the Boreh, who is One.



    feivel, you really do like coming up with strange threads, don’t you?


    Nature is very cool. I love Hashem programmed the world to run.


    Thank you, Feivel. I probably could not have gone to sleep tonight without knowing exactly how the wasp and the roach function as a unit. 😉 Now I have one more comment – EWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!! OK, I feel better now.

    P.S. It is fascinating, though, mah rabbu maasecha, Hashem!


    Unbelievable article feivel! I couldn’t help but laugh, weren’t you the one that posted about the pike fish suicidal tendency?:-)


    yes RY- i was thinking the same thing

    feivel- are you a scientist?


    these threads are not strange

    Hashem’s works are beautiful and marvelous

    and put here to show us his Majesty and Oneness.

    should we fail to study and publicize them?


    rosh, that is correct. feivel has taken us from pike fish suicide to wasp homicide. I wonder what’s next.

    but seriously feivel, I agree 100% with oomis that although this article is EWWWWW its also fascinating.


    I always did wonder why Hashem created roaches for. One reason is for the wasp.


    mazal, but that leads us to the next question: why the wasp? 🙂

    YW Moderator-42

    To quote Mufasa, it’s the circle of life.


    I had nightmares about him when I was little…Hey mod how doyouknow about him?! 😉


    sjs, even I know THAT!

    moderator-42, i’m sorry but your post is really out of place. MOVIES?! on theyeshivaworld? goodness gracious, what has happened to our haligeh moderators???????????


    areivim: I think he’s a rocket scientist!(or maybe a


    1) Roaches: the original snap, crackle, pop breakfast food.

    2) How many calories does a roach have?

    3) If wasps are so smart,why don’t the just go to Costco and and buy economy-sized roach motels?

    4) How do you get rid of yeshivish roaches? with Frummeh Raid (not my own line)

    5) Diet roaches: Tastes great vs. Less filling

    6) What’s the most common penalty call in the roach bowl? encroachment

    7) What’s a wasp’s favorite cheese? roachefort

    8) What’s a wasp’s favorite chocolate? roacher

    9) What do wasps wish each other on the new year? “shenihiye l’roach v’lo lezanev”


    im a Yid.

    im sorry there is so much letzonis here



    My corny jokes are not intended as letzonus at your original post.

    I apologize if they were taken that way or if you took offense.



    Feivel – can u by any chance find anything about my favorite example of how Hashem creates the world, namely the tiger’s stripes and pattern? The evolutionists claim it allows the tiger to hide in the grass. Maybe – but why are thosse stripes and that face so beautiful? According to evolutionists tigers would be better off with a plain, drab pattern that really allows them to not be seen in the grass – orange stands out no matter what.

    I say that the tiger looks that way for one reason only – that we can look at it and say ma rabu maaseicho Hashem – and as a moshol that physical beauty is no indication of character. That tiger is a deadly murderer.


    4) How do you get rid of yeshivish roaches? with Frummeh Raid (not my own line)

    Is that anything like Yeshivishe Raid?

    Do you know how scary it is to me to know that in the event of a nuclear holocaust, the only thing that would survive would be the roaches?


    thanx feivel, ma rabu ma’asecha hashem. i hope the thread continues.


    OOMIS, Great, so they get to greet Moshiach??!!



    i dont know about tigers stripes, you may very well be right.

    certainly as regards color, the world could have been created to function without it. it is purely for our pleasure, and to show us the kindness of Hashem in the olam

    as regards zebra stripes which, like the tiger, actually seem to worsen their camouflage, they have done some research that indicates that the movement of zebras within a herd, stripes against stripes, serves to confuse the visual system of predators as to how far away the herd is, how large it is, the presence of slower moving zebras (weak ones), and perhaps other matters.

    tigers dont really have predators but maybe there is something similar in some way to how the stripes function by zebras.



    that first one about snap crackle and pop literally had be LOLing.


    icot, i took no offense at any post.

    i was however disapointed that some posters didnt understand the point of marveling at Hashem s works. probably i shouldnt have said that. i particularly was not referring to your post.



    Your recollection of the “raid” line is quite likely more accurate than mine.

    I thought I remembered the “cockroaches surviving nuclear fallout” theory being debunked recently, so I turned to my knowledgeable friend, Prof. Google PhD, and he told me that although roaches are not as resistant to radiation as originally thought, they are much more resistant than humans. There are other bugs and microbes that are much more resistant than roaches, including some microbes that can live in irradiated meat. Now, enjoy your melava malka 🙂

    charlie brown-

    Thank you.

    My favorites were 7, 8 and 9.

    I asked my wife what her’s were and she said “grow up” 🙂


    I’m glad you weren’t offended.

    As someone who enjoys knowing how things work, I absolutely agree with your intent in starting these threads.

    There will always be those who deny the existence of a creator, but their arguments and proofs don’t amount to “plausible deniability”, just foolish denial.


    “including some microbes that can live in irradiated meat. Now, enjoy your melava malka 🙂 “

    Dear I Can Only Try:

    You can only try, and now I can only barf…. Yum! (The fact that anything can survive radiation is another neis from Hashem.)


    I just read an article on Cicada Killer Wasps (enormous things that are starting to pop up all over), and I thought they were impressive (and thread-worthy). I checked this forum to make sure it hadn’t already been posted, and found this thread. Wow, this wasp is far more mind-boggling.

    Sister Bear

    Ma Rabu Maashecha Hashem and all but freaky!!!!!!! Take this to all the atheists out there and ask them how these things created themselves!!!

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