Saturday, February 04, 2006

Brain Washed Roaches

The title speaks for itself. A link is here.

Quick Summary:
  • A wasp called Ampulex Compressa stings a roach to weaken their defenses.
  • The wasp then uses its stinger to go through the exoskeleton into the roach's brain.
  • In the brain, the wasp probes the brain until it finds the part that controls the escape reflex and then injects venom.
  • The roach's metabolism is altered so that it consumes a third of the oxygen it did before.
  • The roach can no longer walk of its own free will. The wasp must lead it.
  • The wasp takes the roach to its burrow, seals the entrance, and lays an egg beneath the roach's underside.
  • The larva hatch and burrow inside the roach.
  • After about 5 weeks the now adult wasp emerges from the roach.

My $0.02: The author used the term zombie to describe these roaches, but the term "zombie" is a misnomer. The roach is not killed and brought back to life. The roach simply now lacks free will. However, the wasp being able to control the roach completely is an interesting phenomena. If the roach could be controlled, could there be a similar mechanism of control in humans?

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