This Insane Dementor Wasp Can Actually Turn Cockroaches Into Zombies

Michael Ohl/Museum für Naturkunde/WWF

There is a species of wasp so terrifying, it takes its name from a fictional force of evil.

It's called the Ampulex dementor, in reference to the soul-sucking beings from the "Harry Potter" novels.

The red and black creature preys on cockroaches by injecting venom into their bellies, according to the Washington Post.

But this venom doesn't kill the cockroach.

As a new report from the World Wildlife Fund says, the prey is instead turned into a "passive zombie" and then eaten alive.

The report reads,

Cockroach wasp venom blocks receptors of the neurotransmitter octopamine, which is involved in the initiation of spontaneous movement. With this blocked, the cockroach is still capable of movement, but is unable to direct its own body. Once the cockroach has lost control, the wasp drags its stupefied prey by the antennae to a safe shelter to devour it.

The insect has been seen only in Thailand, and its name was chosen by 300 visitors of the Museum für Naturkunde, a natural history museum in Berlin.

Visitors were told to pick one of four names: "Bicolor," due to its appearance, "Mon," after the ethnic group located near the wasp's habitat, "Plagiator," because it is said to somehow "mimic" ants and "Dementor."

This last choice was described to visitors as "magical beings, which can consume a person's soul, leaving their victims as an empty but functional body without personality and emotions."

Amuplex dementor was one of 139 new species discovered in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam last year.

Citations: Say hello to the dementor wasp It turns cockroaches into zombies (Washington Post)