Ampulex Dementor: Wasp Turns Roaches Into ‘Passive Zombies’

A “soul-sucking” wasp, the Ampulex Dementor, is among 139 new species that have been identified in the Greater Mekong Region, and the insect’s relationship with its prey is nothing short of terrifying.

The Dementor wasp is found in Thailand, and was named by a popular vote after creatures from the Harry Potter series, according to the Guardian. The wasp has a unique method of attacking its prey, which consists largely of cockroaches native to the region. As it attacks, the wasp injects a venom into the roach’s belly, which paralyzes it, seemingly stealing the unfortunate insect’s “free will.” Even though the roach is still capable of movement, it cannot direct its own body. The Dementor wasp is therefore able to drag its prey to a safe location before consuming it.

The Dementor was named by visitors to Berlin’s natural history museum, and it lives in one of the world’s top five threatened habitats. The wasp is just one of a stunning variety of animals discovered in 2014, according to the BBC. The World Wildlife Federation notes that the Dementor wasp, as well as many of the other newly discovered species, may already be under threat.

Those new species include a frog that is able to change color, along with the 10,000th reptile ever described, a bent-toed gecko called Cyrtodactylus vilaphongi. A long toothed pipistrelle bat was also discovered, and while much of its life remains a mystery, scientists theorize that its unique dentition may have evolved to hold larger insects.

An extremely large stick insect, the the 54cm-long Phryganistria heusii yentuensis, was also discovered by scientists exploring the region. It represents the world’s second longest insect, and according to Jerome Constant, leader of the expedition that discovered it, researchers now have over 150 species of stick insect to describe.

“Three of the biggest insects have just been described last year. There are more for sure,” he said.

Though the Dementor wasp may be terrifying in its ability to paralyze its prey, wasps are only dangerous to humans who prove allergic to their sting. As the Inquisitr reported last year, a 32-year-old mother of four from Fredericksburg, Virginia, was killed after suffering a severe allergic reaction to wasp stings.

The Greater Mekong Region is located across the countries of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. In addition to the Dementor wasp and a seemingly endless variety of animal life, the region is also home to some 300 million people.

[Image via. WWF]