The World Wildlife Fund released a new report detailing 139 new species of plants and animals found in the Greater Mekong region, and one of the coolest/scariest on the list is the Ampulex Dementor wasp. No, really – that’s what they named it.
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Ampulex dementor, or as it is more cordially called, “the Soul-Sucking Dementor”, was named for the very same dementor character in the Harry Potter series because it essentially sucks the souls out of its prey. Cool, right? Basically what happens is: the dementor wasp injects venom into a cockroach and that venom then blocks the neuroreceptors of the cockroach – turning it into a zombie of sorts. The cockroach can still move, but it has no control over its own body. So the dementor just grabs a hold of one of the cockroaches antennae and drags him back to his waspy lair. After the wasp has had a quick snack of the still living roach, the wasp then lays its eggs in the living roach, buries it, and goes off to find another cockroach to turn into a living nest for more baby wasps.
The wasp’s name was actually part of a PR campaign put together by the natural history museum in Berlin, the Museum für Naturkunde. A group of German researchers discovered the wasp back in 2014 but reserved the special task of naming the wasp to the public visitors of the Museum. According to Michael Ohl, who worked on the project said, “I am convinced that events like this increase people’s curiosity about local and global fauna and nature.” The choices were: “Bicolor,” after its red-black pattern; “Mon,” after a local ethnic group where the wasp lives; “Plagiator,” since it mimics, or “plagiarizes,” ants; and “Dementor,” described to visitors as “magical beings, which can consume a person’s soul, leaving their victims as an empty but functional body without personality and emotions.”
Clearly “Ampulex Dementor” was the way to go.