New cockroach wasp species named after a famous Harry Potter creature

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Jun 26, 2015, 4:31 PM EDT (Updated)

A new species of cockroach wasps has just been named after one of J.K. Rowling’s most ghoulish Harry Potter creations.

First off: Wait, what? What in holy hell is a cockroach wasp? Well, basically, it’s a type of wasp that straight-up murders cockroaches. Eww ... moving on.

So what’s the name chosen for this new species? Ampulex Dementor, after the Dementors from Rowling’s wonderful, magical world of Harry Potter.

The name was chosen by a group of 300 museum visitors at Berlin’s Natural History Museum. Apparently it’s fitting, because these wasps partially paralyze their prey (the cockroaches) before eating them or laying eggs inside them. They're a bit like the Dementors, who leave their powerless victims in some sort of vegetative state after feeding on their souls.

"The Dementor's fictional behaviour and effects reminded us of the effect of the stinging behaviour of Ampulex on the behaviour of its cockroach prey," the museum operators said.
"After being stung by the wasp, specific behaviours of the cockroach are inhibited (e.g., escape behaviour) while others are unaffected (e.g., locomotion).
"The wasp grabs the partly paralysed cockroach by one of the antennae and guides it to a suitable oviposition location, the prey following the wasp in a docile manner. This is a unique strategy of behavioural modulation of a prey by a wasp's sting."

And here's the lovely specimen in question:

We're sure J.K. Rowling must be proud. Muggles.

(via The Independent and Digital Spy)