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Michael considered fate at 16:32   |   Permalink   |   Post a Comment
This is too good to pass up - Zombifying cockroaches, the wasp way:
[the Ampulex compressa wasp] finds a cockroach to make her egg's host, and proceeds to deliver two precise stings. The first .. delivers .. brief paralysis .. gives the wasp the luxury of time to deliver a more precise sting to the head.

She .. probe
[s] 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.

.. 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.. Now the wasp .. 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. Seeing a full-grown wasp crawl out of a roach suddenly makes those Alien movies look pretty derivative.

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Check out heroecs, the robotics team competition website of my old supervisor's daughter. Fun stuff!
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