Emerald wasp and cockroach relationship

emerald wasp and cockroach relationship

The parasitoid Jewel Wasp hunts cockroaches to serve as a live food supply for .. Insect attention and arousal states, and their correlation with. The emerald cockroach wasp or jewel wasp (Ampulex compressa) is a solitary wasp of the family Ampulicidae. It is known for its unusual reproductive behavior, . The jewel wasp enslaves cockroaches, stinging their brains in ridiculously precise spots and injecting mind-controlling venom. The wasp then.

Abstract Background The parasitoid Jewel Wasp hunts cockroaches to serve as a live food supply for its offspring. The wasp stings the cockroach in the head and delivers a cocktail of neurotoxins directly inside the prey's cerebral ganglia. We show here that such neuro-chemical manipulation can be attributed to decreased neuronal activity in a small region of the cockroach cerebral nervous system, the sub-esophageal ganglion SEG.

emerald wasp and cockroach relationship

A decrease in descending permissive inputs from this ganglion to thoracic central pattern generators decreases the propensity for walking-related behaviors. Methodology and Principal Findings We have used behavioral, neuro-pharmacological and electrophysiological methods to show that: Conclusions and Significance We have identified the neuronal substrate responsible for the venom-induced manipulation of the cockroach's drive for walking.

Our data strongly support previous findings suggesting a critical and permissive role for the SEG in the regulation of locomotion in insects.

By injecting a venom cocktail directly into the SEG, the parasitoid Jewel Wasp selectively manipulates the cockroach's motivation to initiate walking without interfering with other non-related behaviors.

Introduction Animals are not automatons that react identically every time they encounter the same stimulus [1].

zombie cockroach

Changes in the internal physiological state of an animal alter its responsiveness to stimuli and consequently affect its motivation to engage in a given behavior.

Such processes and their underlying neuronal substrates have been the subject of extensive study for decades [2] — [4]. These efforts have undoubtedly benefited from studies on animals with relatively simple nervous systems, controlling stereotyped behaviors [1][5] — [8].

Through millions of years of co-evolution, a few animal species have evolved unique strategies to control the motivation of their prey to engage in specific behaviors, thereby manipulating the prey in most exceptional ways [9]. One such example is the parasitoid Jewel Wasp Ampulex compressa which specifically depresses the drive of its prey to engage in locomotion [10]. The adult female wasp hunts cockroaches Periplaneta americana for use as a live food supply for its offspring.

A cockroach stung by a Jewel Wasp first grooms itself excessively for 30 minutes, and then becomes hypokinetic for 3—7 days, during which time it loses the ability to self-initiate and maintain walking-related behaviors [12][13].

Emerald cockroach wasp

The stung cockroach is not, however, paralyzed, allowing the wasp to grab its prey by the antenna and lead it to a nest, with the cockroach all the while following in a docile manner, much like a submissive dog on a leash movie available online [10].

The wasp then lays an egg on the cockroach, seals the nest and leaves the docile prey inside. The wasp larva hatches two days later and feeds on the cockroach for another three days.

The prey, although still alive throughout this process, does not put up a fight nor try to escape its tomb. While a number of venomous animals paralyze prey as live food for their young, A. Several other species of the genus Ampulex show a similar behavior of preying on cockroaches.

While a stung roach exhibits drastically reduced survival instincts such as swimming, or avoiding pain for about 72 hours, motor abilities such as flight or flipping over are unimpaired.

The concoction temporarily blocks the motor action potentials in the prothoracic ganglion by depressing cholinergic transmission through the increased chloride conductance across nerve synapses.

Individually, all of these substances induce short-term paralysis of the cockroach. When they are injected together in a ratio of Taurine and beta-alanine likely extend the duration of the paralytic effect by slowing the uptake of GABA by the synaptic cleft.

emerald wasp and cockroach relationship

The second sting is administered to the subesophageal ganglion SEG and is much more precise, hence the need for paralysis and is significantly longer. The wasp actively searches for the SEG during this sting. The second sting inhibits the cockroach's ability to walk spontaneously, or of its own will, but cockroaches can right themselves and swim while under the influence, and when startled, will jump but not run.

It also causes excessive grooming and alterations in the metabolism of the cockroach. The metabolic change is thought to preserve nutrients for the wasp larva.

Parasitic wasp turns roaches into zombie slaves using neurotoxic cocktail

Researchers have simulated this zombie state by injecting procaine into the SEG. They also determined using extracellular bipolar electrodes that neuronal activity was less in stung cockroaches. The venom may disturb the octopaminergic modulation in structures within the roach's ganglion. Basically, it limits the effectiveness of octopamine, the neurotransmitter that controls muscle contraction in sudden movements.