The Ampulex compressa, a wasp with a nasty hunting habit, has a particularly devious plan in store for cockroaches. I’m not fond of roaches either, but I’ve never thought to conduct bizarre Frankenstein experiments with them. I’ve read at Boing Boing and The Loom at Corante now about the fascinating insect. The female wasp seeks out a roach when she’s ready to lay her egg (solitary, it would seem). She then injects a stinger into the roaches abdomen and injects a paralyzing venom into its nervous system. Once immobile, the wasp goes to work. Without the luxury of medical science and electronics, she guides a second sting into the roaches brain. Sensors along the stinger allow her to guide it to an exact spot within the squishy center. Once there, she disables the reflex to escape in the roach. As the roach comes out of paralysis, the wasp mounts it cowboy style and, using an antenna as a bridal, leads the roach back to her den. The zombie roach does her bidding without question. There, she blocks up the entrance and lays an egg on the roach’s underside. Once hatched, the larva enters the roach and devours its organs over the next week. Not only does the roach not mind this tedium, but it stays alive for the event. A side-effect of the wasp’s tinkering leaves the roach in a suspended state where it consumes a third less oxygen. Its entire metabolism is reduced significantly, keeping it from dehydrating among many things. The baby wasp inside fills the inside of the roach over time and eventually bursts out from a cocoon when old enough. Presumably, the roach is now dead – being without organs or an intact exoskeleton at this point. There’s a really gruesome horror flic to come from this – stay tuned.