Currently viewing the category: "Cockroach Wasps"
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Subject: What’s this Bug?
Location: Central Oahu, Hi
March 3, 2013 12:57 pm
It’s about 2 inches long and the colors are bright neon blue, bright neon green, with orange on the legs. Oh and it has wings.
Signature: curious

Emerald Cockroach Wasp

Emerald Cockroach Wasp

Dear curious,
This is a curious parasitic wasp known as the Emerald Cockroach Wasp,
Ampulex compressa, and you can read about its interesting life history in our archives.  In a compressed version, the female Emerald Cockroach Wasp preys upon Cockroaches to feed her brood by stinging the Cockroaches and turning them into zombies.  You may read more about the Emerald Cockroach Wasp on TrekNature where it states:  “The wasp is common in the tropical regions of South Asia, Africa and the Pacific islands. The flying wasps are more abundant in the warm seasons of the year.  A. compressa was introduced to Hawaii by F. X. Williams in 1941 as a method of biocontrol. This has been unsuccessful because of the territorial tendencies of the wasp, and the small scale on which they hunt.”

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Emerald Cockroach Wasp
Location: Pirituba, São Paulo City, Brazil
May 14, 2012 7:56 am
Hi!
I’m sending another picture of the Brazilian Emerald Cockroach Wasp, because the first picture I sent was blurry. It’s just if you wish to update the post.
Signature: Cesar Crash

Emerald Cockroach Wasp

Hi Cesar,
How nice to hear back from you.  Rather than to update your previous posting, we have just created a new post.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Ampulex compressa
Location: Pirituba, São Paulo city, Brazil
March 31, 2012 8:08 pm
Hello!
I am resending this image because the summer is over here in Brazil, and this is the best shot I could take. This picture was taken just about time because this week, unfortunately, this tree was cut down.
Signature: Cesar Crash

Emerald Cockroach Wasp

Hi Cesar,
Thanks for following up on the November posting of an Emerald Cockroach Wasp.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Singapore Green Shiny Insect
Location: Singapore
November 25, 2011 12:47 am
Hi, I am pretty sure this is a common insect, but no one knows what this is. I will appreciate if you could tell me what this is. Thanks!
Signature: Huaguang

Emerald Cockroach Wasp

Dear Huaguang,
Despite the lack of clarity in your photo, we are certain you have submitted an image of an Emerald Cockroach Wasp,
Ampulex compressa, which we recently featured because of its amazing life cycle.  A female stings an American Cockroach, turning it into a zombie that can be led back to the nest where it becomes a meal for the developing wasp larvae.  There is much online information available on this food chain relationship.

Hi,
Thanks for the information. It’s such an amazing insect, especially in a country where cockroaches are absolute pests. Unfortunately I hardly see them at all!
Regards
HG

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Christmas bug?
Location: Honolulu, HI
November 7, 2011 4:05 am
Found a bug at a school in Honolulu, HI. It is about an inch long. Its body is a metallic green, and its legs are red and green.
Signature: Help please

Emerald Cockroach Wasp

Alas, your request arrived too late to take advantage of Halloween.  Normally, we do not like to link to Wikipedia, however, when we typed in “green wasp, red legs, Hawaii” into a search engine, we discovered the Emerald Cockroach Wasp, Ampulex compressa, on Wikipedia.  We have heard about this parasitoid before, though this is the first submission to our website.  This is the wasp that turns Cockroaches into Zombies, the new hip monsters in pop culture films.  We then did additional research to verify this identification and we found an excellent description on Science Blogs:  The Loom.  Here is an excerpt from Carl Zimmer’s account:  “But things get weird when it’s time for a female to lay an egg. She finds a cockroach to make her egg’s host, and proceeds to deliver two precise stings. The first she delivers to the roach’s mid-section, causing its front legs buckle. The brief paralysis caused by the first sting gives the wasp the luxury of time to deliver a more precise sting to the head.
The wasp slips her stinger through the roach’s exoskeleton and directly into its brain. She apparently use ssensors along the sides of the stinger to guide it through the brain, a bit like a surgeon snaking his way to an appendix with a laparoscope. She continues to probe the roach’s brain until she reaches one particular spot that appears to control the escape reflex. She injects a second venom that influences these neurons in such a way that the escape reflex disappears.
From the outside, the effect is surreal. The wasp does not paralyze the cockroach. In fact, the roach is able to lift up its front legs again and walk. But now it cannot move of its own accord. The wasp takes hold of one of the roach’s antennae and leads it–in the words of Israeli scientists who study Ampulex–like a dog on a leash.
The zombie roach crawls where its master leads, which turns out to be the wasp’s burrow. The roach creeps obediently into the burrow and sits there quietly, while the wasp plugs up the burrow with pebbles. Now the wasp turns to the roach once more and lays an egg on its underside. The roach does not resist. The egg hatches, and the larva chews a hole in the side of the roach. In it goes.
The larva grows inside the roach, devouring the organs of its host, for about eight days. It is then ready to weave itself a cocoon–which it makes within the roach as well. After four more weeks, the wasp grows to an adult. It breaks out of its cocoon, and out of the roach as well.”  According to Wikipedia:  “The wasp is mostly found in the tropical regions of South Asia, Africa and the Pacific islands. …  A. compressa was introduced to Hawaii by F.X. Williams in 1941 as a method of biocontrol. “  BugGuide has examples of Cockroach Wasps from the family Ampulicidae and the genus
Ampulex, however this species is not represented.  More about the Emerald Cockroach Wasp can be found on Scientific American:  Revenge of the Zombifying Wasp.

Comment from Cesar Crash in Brazil
About Ampulex Compressa
November 17, 2011
Hi, guys!
Y’know, about Enio Brutamonte’s picks of the Emerald Cockroach Wasp, I told him at the beggining to send you the photos, but he just gave the link. I sent him another e-mail begging him to send the photo, ’till now, he didn’t e-mail me back.
Every crickets I see in your site and bug guide are very different from the majority we have here. I’ll send some pics later when I come home. I have a strange grasshopper I’d like to identify too.
I’m sharing some images of some art I’m doing as a hobby. It’s masking tape, newspaper, wire, indian ink, acrilic paint and stuff.
Peace!

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination