The Emerald Jewel Wasp

What is it?

Found in South Asia, Africa and the Pacific Islands, Ampulex Compressa is a small, metallic green wasp.

What makes it so neat?

It’s a sadistic serial killer. Like the Tarantula Hawk Wasp, the Emerald Jewel is a solitary wasp and therefore does not rely on a hive to feed and protect its young. It uses the zombified body of a cockroach to house its larvae instead.

It flitters in the air long enough to find a common cockroach. Then, like a surgeon from hell, pierces the brain of the roach with its long stinger, pumping it with venom. However the victim does not die. The sting is accurate and deliberate, the toxins destroy the part of the brain which tells the roach to flee from danger. It is still very much alive, just unable to run .

Because, the predator is several times smaller and not strong enough to carry the prey to its burrow the wasp tugs its victims antennae and like a dog it follows obediently, unable to run away. After walking the zombified body to the burrow, the wasp eats the roaches antennae to replenish its energy and then lays an egg on its abdomen. It then covers the hole of the burrow and flies away to find another victim. The roach still, is very much alive and is just sitting in the darkness.

The larvae then hatches, and eats its way inside the body of the roach. Eating, growing, very systematically avoiding vital organs to keep the roach alive for as long as possible. It then pupates inside the roach, emerges out of the probably dead roach and then begins the vicious cycle again.

The Emerald Wasp deals death in such a cruel, calculating way it makes you appreciate the fact that you are human and will probably never be eaten from the inside out whilst still alive.