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Wasp performs roach-brain-surgery to make zombie slave-roaches
February 3, 2006 4:26 AM   Subscribe

Wasp performs roach-brain-surgery to make zombie slave-roaches "Ampulex compressa is a wasp that has evolved to tackle roaches, insert a stinger into their brains and disable their escape reflexes. This lets the wasp use the roach's antennae to steer the roach to its lair, where it can lay its egg in it. ... Seeing a full-grown wasp crawl out of a roach suddenly makes those Alien movies look pretty derivative. " Via Boing Boing
posted by badlydubbedboy (49 comments total)

 
Kind of cool.
Kind of gross.
posted by caddis at 4:36 AM on February 3, 2006


Now what was God thinking when He Intelligently Designed that?
posted by three blind mice at 4:37 AM on February 3, 2006


He was planning on creating some language-using primates who were really into gross-out humor a few days later.
posted by nebulawindphone at 4:39 AM on February 3, 2006


Now what was God thinking when He Intelligently Designed that?

"Someday this will rocket Sigourney Weaver into stardom."

Incidentally, this will give me nightmares.
posted by pookzilla at 4:40 AM on February 3, 2006


Just saw that at BB... SO cool! I love weirdo bug science.
posted by antifuse at 4:40 AM on February 3, 2006


Also:
I, for one, welcome our new roach-riding wasp overlords.

posted by antifuse at 4:41 AM on February 3, 2006


more mind control
posted by arialblack at 4:57 AM on February 3, 2006


If anyone wants to paralysing cockroaches at home, this page provides a handy schematic diagram of a cockroach’s ‘abdominal circuitry.’ Also here’s a technical PDF about the brain-injection phenomenon.
posted by misteraitch at 5:01 AM on February 3, 2006


geez. thanks for sharing my best lovemaking techniques...
posted by beelzbubba at 5:12 AM on February 3, 2006


beelz wins
posted by rxrfrx at 5:14 AM on February 3, 2006


...with antifuse a very close second thanks to bonus points for making a MeFi cliche funny again.

There's a wasp (maybe the same one) that does this with ants, termites or somesuch too. Which is where my knowledge of the subject abruptly ends.
posted by i_cola at 5:27 AM on February 3, 2006


Why is always wasps that do this kind of thing? Damn freeloaders!

[hides from mighty, human-controlling, giant-wasp-from-Mars MeFites]
posted by NinjaPirate at 5:41 AM on February 3, 2006


Is it too early in the post to introduce the usual Cheney / Bush derail?
posted by Kiwi at 5:53 AM on February 3, 2006


Uh... this is cool & all, but why link to BB's link to the article, instead of cutting out the middle man?
posted by jonson at 5:59 AM on February 3, 2006


I, for one, welcome our new wasp overlords.

(yeah yeah, i know its an old joke already).
posted by Doorstop at 6:19 AM on February 3, 2006


I woke up earlier than usual this morning, and I was kind of thinking of going back to bed for a while, but now I don't think I can sleep.

I'm really not sure I'll ever be able to sleep again.

Thanks a lot, badlydubbedboy.
posted by moss at 6:33 AM on February 3, 2006


three blind mice writes "Now what was God thinking when He Intelligently Designed that?"


mice of course alludes to the story of Darwin and ichneumon wasp: Charles Darwin lost his faith with the help of a wasp.

More on [PDF] parasitic [PDF] wasps. [PDF]
posted by orthogonality at 6:34 AM on February 3, 2006


arialblack writes "more mind control"

That's wonderfully elegant, arialblack. Thanks.
posted by orthogonality at 6:36 AM on February 3, 2006


Yeah, arialblack's link is awesome!

I love insects as operators like this. And a phrase I really love is "parasitic wasps." I don't know why, but it seems appropriate.
posted by OmieWise at 6:43 AM on February 3, 2006


OmieWise writes "And a phrase I really love is 'parasitic WASPs.' I don't know why, but it seems appropriate."

Hand over the Jew Gold, Kyle!
posted by orthogonality at 6:51 AM on February 3, 2006


"The explanation offered by Dahmer himself for his behavior was that he was attempting to remove the free will from his victims so that they would stay with him forever. Dahmer had experimented with removing sections of his living victims' skulls and pouring various chemicals into their brain cavities to try to create lobotomized zombies compliant to his wishes to fulfill his sexual desires."
posted by digaman at 6:54 AM on February 3, 2006


vira posted the original link from Boing Boing this morning on IRC. I found the article rather interesting, which led me to highlight Ampulex compressa, right-click it and choose 'Search Web for "Ampulex compres..."', which opened a new tab of 308 results on google....some of which give interesting bits of knowledge, related in this case to insects, and told vira to post it here.

Then he points out someone else has already posted it...not a link to the article mind you, but a link to the Boing Boing blurb that links to the article. For shame badlydubbedboy, I now cast thee into the same pit with Billisitics and his Luck Dragon.
< @gren> vira: wow, thats a pretty smart wasp
< @gren> you should post that to mefi
[09:20AM] < @vira> i saw it on boingboing
< @gren> so flesh out some more links and make it a fpp
< @gren> plenty of clever ways to deliver those links
< @gren> just dont ride the luck dragon
[09:21AM] < @vira> haha
[09:21AM] < @vira> look @ mefi
< @gren> oh, hehe
< @gren> see, thats another luck dragon

posted by gren at 6:57 AM on February 3, 2006


There's an episode of Life in the Undergrowth where they look at parasitoid wasps. One poor spider has all its internal juices sucked out - I think that snip of video will be with me to the end. Wasps are evil.
posted by flameproof at 6:57 AM on February 3, 2006


Anything that tortures cockroaches is A-okay with me.
posted by orange swan at 7:02 AM on February 3, 2006


Some time ago on the Science Channel I was made aware of a certain parasite that spends part of its life cycle turning an ant into its zombie slave. Upon ingestion the parasite makes its way to the ant's tiny brain and causes the ant to climb to the top of the tallest blade of grass it can find. There it waits until a ruminant of some kind chows down on the grass and said ant. Finally our parisitic friend can fulfill its evolutionary obligations by making home in the cow's liver, its progeny finding their way out the cow's backside to be consumed by further recruits in the Army of Ant Zombies. [cue spooky music]
posted by MarkO at 7:39 AM on February 3, 2006


digaman, I thought about Dahmer, too.

also, BoingBoing rules.
posted by matteo at 7:43 AM on February 3, 2006


Kudos to all (so far) for avoiding the obvious references to marriage metaphors.
Guess I put an end to that one.
posted by spock at 7:44 AM on February 3, 2006


How do wasps understand where to put their stinger again?
posted by j-urb at 7:57 AM on February 3, 2006


Looks like boingboing performed brain surgery on badlydubbedboy, and now he's doing their bidding. "Via boingboing," indeed.
posted by crunchland at 8:01 AM on February 3, 2006


Doorstop: I, for one, welcome our new wasp overlords.

Copycat!

flameproof: I saw that same episode of Life in the Undergrowth. The number of different parasitic wasps out there is astounding! And I never knew that ants were descended from wasps either until I saw that. My girlfriend came in as I was watching it and the first thing she asked me was "What the HELL is that bug doing to that other bug?" The 7 year old boy in me was delighted that she was so grossed out.
posted by antifuse at 8:02 AM on February 3, 2006


I'm glad this was posted. I saw a scientific talk about these wasps a couple of months ago and it was absolutely amazing and pretty freaky. The two movies that really stood out were one of the wasps abdomen pulsating while it injected its venom into the cockroach and one where they gave the wasp a cockroach with its brain removed and the wasp kept stinging it over and over again trying to find its brain.
posted by pombe at 8:07 AM on February 3, 2006


What if it were possible to alter the wasp to keep accumulating roaches, then release a swarm into your roach infested home?
posted by iamck at 8:19 AM on February 3, 2006


Well, at least I know what my nightmares will be tonight.
posted by unixrat at 8:21 AM on February 3, 2006


MarkO: That's the Lancet Fluke.

It's lifecycle is even more complex than that.
posted by Laen at 8:22 AM on February 3, 2006


they gave the wasp a cockroach with its brain removed and the wasp kept stinging it over and over again trying to find its brain

*points* HA-ha!

Now that the parasitic wasp has gotten his comeuppance, I'm no longer in complete horror. Thanks pombe!
posted by eddydamascene at 8:43 AM on February 3, 2006


I got through the the ER horror story thread without breaking a cold sweat, even when they started in on the catheter tales, but this wasp article's given me permanent cold shivers of revulsion. Good lord.
posted by Spatch at 8:58 AM on February 3, 2006


In the spring, the WASPs all fly out to the coast,
To drink Margaritas and skullfuck their hosts.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:00 AM on February 3, 2006


How can they tease us with articles like this but not provide any video? I think Zimmer should have his own show on some crappy cable network. He could be the creepy version of Carl Sagan. The real question is what kind of music do you play when you show a wasp riding a brain-impaled roach around? Carnival music? Metal? Classical?
posted by skallas at 9:12 AM on February 3, 2006


Here you go, skallas.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:17 AM on February 3, 2006


skallas writes "what kind of music do you play when you show a wasp riding a brain-impaled roach around? Carnival music? Metal? Classical?"

Yakety Sax (Benny Hill theme)
posted by orthogonality at 9:32 AM on February 3, 2006


It's kinda like macroeconomics.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:54 AM on February 3, 2006


Insect-themed grindcore (mov) might work nicely, skallas.
posted by Venadium at 12:05 PM on February 3, 2006


Poor roach.
posted by brundlefly at 12:15 PM on February 3, 2006


"what kind of music do you play when you show a wasp riding a brain-impaled roach around? Carnival music? Metal? Classical?"

Rawhide.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 12:45 PM on February 3, 2006


I gotta stick to my guns on this one. How does it get better than W.A.S.P. singing "Kill, Fuck, Die"?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:50 PM on February 3, 2006


How can they tease us with articles like this but not provide any video?

They are merciful.

Incidentally, I'm reading "Parasite Rex" right now, and it covers a lot of this stuff (although not this particular wasp); very groovy and cool (and gross when you get to the pictures of tapeworms when you're eating chinese noodles, no joke.)
posted by davejay at 12:50 PM on February 3, 2006


The 7 year old boy in me

Speaking of parasites...
posted by fidelity at 1:27 PM on February 3, 2006


In the spring, the WASPs all fly out to the coast,
To drink Margaritas and skullfuck their hosts.


I am now a full-fledged IRFH fan-boy.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:09 PM on February 3, 2006


A three word haiku:

hymenoptera
individuality
annihilation
posted by signalnine at 4:37 PM on February 4, 2006


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