Return of the Zombie Cockroaches and the Neurosurgical Wasps

Ampulex%20stinging.jpgLast year I wrote about the emerald cockroach wasp, Ampulex compressa, which injects venom into cockroaches to turn them into zombie hosts for their parasitic offspring. (More posts on Ampulex here.) The scientists I wrote about have been trying to figure out what exactly the venom does to the nervous system of their victims, and they’ve discovered that it interferes with a neurotransmitter called octopamine. New Scientist has an update. And they also have a link to a YouTube video that offers more than you may want to see of this awesome parasitic manipulation.

0 thoughts on “Return of the Zombie Cockroaches and the Neurosurgical Wasps

  1. Ampulex and Cockroach is such a great story!

    We had some guesses about the neurophysiological mechanism but now Lior Rosenberg did a great job in this paper ( to show not only that Octopamine has this de-zombie-ing effect but also which other neuromodulators do not affect the stung cockroach.

    And mentioning evolution in action and parasitic systems, a paper in Nature reports an adaptive arms-race frozen in mud! (

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *