Life and death: Dance of the Wasp and the Cockroach

WE are familiar with the reel-life Aliens which mode of reproduction is by hatching its young from within another living organism, which in the movie is typically humans. The scenario is even more gross in the latest Alien movie, "AVP: Requiem" in which a single Alien lifeform takes over an entire town in a short while using the same method of propagation.

But it appears we have our own real life alien-type behavior exhibited by the jewel wasp. The victim: our common cockroach!

Just how vicious (from our human perspective!) is this process?

The wasp delivers two stings to the cockroach. The first sting to the thorax incapacitates the front legs of the cockroach. This gives the wasp enough time to sting the cockroach a second time, on its head.

Israeli scientists discovered recently that this second sting blocks a brain chemical that regulates movement.

The jewel wasp then leads the cockroach by its antennae to an ideal spot where the wasp lays its eggs on the cockroach's belly. When the eggs hatch, the wasp larvae burrow into the cockroach's abdomen, to feed on the internal organs. The cockroach is eaten alive over the course of a week!

The wonders of Science and Mother Nature! Parents could intrigue their kids with such snippets. Strange, or maybe not so strange, that kids generally view such with less of "horror" and more of curiosity, which is the the basis for promoting love of Science in your child!