You’ve seen them, on the top of the pops, and in the adverts, running down the escalators, jumping on the bins, you know, on the top of the pops, and on the bins, by the shopping trollies, running down the escalators, next to the trollies and on the bins.
These are very smart cockroaches, we know this because they are wearing glasses in fashionable neon colors. The emerald cockroach wasp uses cockroaches as hosts its larvae. It delivers an initial sting to a thoracic ganglion and injects venom to mildly and reversibly paralyze the front legs of its victim. This facilitates the second venomous sting at a carefully chosen spot in the roach’s head brain, in the section that controls the escape reflex. The wasp proceeds to chew off half of each of the roach’s antennae. The wasp, which is too small to carry the roach, then leads the victim to the wasp’s burrow, by pulling one of the roach’s antennae in a manner similar to a leash. Once they reach the burrow, the wasp lays a white egg, about 2 mm long, on the roach’s abdomen…. With its escape reflex disabled, the stung roach will simply rest in the burrow as the wasp’s egg hatches after about three days. The hatched larva lives and feeds for 4–5 days on the roach, then chews its way into its abdomen and proceeds to live as an endoparasitoid. Over a period of eight days, the wasp larva consumes the roach’s internal organs in an order which guarantees that the roach will stay alive, at least until the larva enters the pupal stage and forms a cocoon inside the roach’s body. Eventually the fully grown wasp emerges from the roach’s body to begin its adult life. But this wouldn’t happen to these roaches because they are far too clever. (Which we know from the glasses)
42 x 29.5 cm
Ink on Paper