Harry Potter Fans Name Brain-Paralyzing Wasp After Dementors, Natch

Illustration for article titled Harry Potter Fans Name Brain-Paralyzing Wasp After Dementors, Natch

The Museum of Natural History in Berlin recently allowed its patrons to name one of its henceforth unnamed wasp species. The name the public chose was Ampulex dementor, either out out of Harry Potter fandom or because the wasp really is the Dementor of the animal world.


Seriously! Here's how Nature World News describes the Ampulex dementor subduing its prey:

Native to Thailand, A. dementor has bright red and black coloring, and is one of over 200 species of wasp which reproduces using a host incubator - in the wasp's case, it uses the cockroach.

The female lands on top of a cockroach and uses its stinger to inject neurotoxins directly into the roach's head. The cockroach immediately takes on a zombie-like obedient state and follows the wasp back to her burrow. There, she lays her egg inside the cockroach, which incubates the egg for a few days until it hatches. The larva then feeds on the roach that birthed it until it's old enough to go off on its own, according to iflscience.com.


Now, just for comparison, here's how the Harry Potter Wiki describes Dementors doing the same:

Dementors feed off human happiness, and thus cause depression and despair to anyone near them. They can also consume a person's soul, leaving their victims in a permanent vegetative state, and thus are often referred to as "soul-sucking fiends" and are known to leave a person as an 'empty-shell'

Are the wasp's victims as unhappy as the Dementor's? Well, since they are living zombie wasp egg incubators that are slowly eaten alive, I'm going to guess yeah, they're less than thrilled.

The museum wanted to raise awareness of and interest in scientific taxonomy, so mission accomplished there. Meanwhile, I heard Ampulex dementor has been admitted to Hogwarts. It even put on the Sorting Hat, who announced it would be assigned to House AAAA IT'S A FUCKING WASP AAAAAAA.


[Via The AV Club]

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"...one of its henceforth unnamed wasp species."

Not really. It was heretofore unnamed until they called it a dementor. Henceforth, it is named.