A parasitic wasp with a cockroach: Ampulex ferruginea

In the narration for this video we postulate that what we were seeing was an ant trying to get a cockroach moving for some completely unknown reason. However, we’ve since learned that the “ant” was actually a “cockroach wasp” – Ampulex ferruginea.

Ampulex ferruginea is a species of parasitic wasp that lays its eggs in the body of a paralyzed cockroach. This cockroach seems to have been insufficiently “zombiefied” by the wasp and managed to escape. If it hadn’t, the wasp would have led the cockroach to a safe place and laid its eggs. The wasp larvae would then have slowly eaten the cockroach alive.

We are proud to be able to publish a video clip that should make us all feel sorry for cockroaches.

Our thanks to Val Bugh at Austin’s Capital Area Master Naturalists (CAMN) for explaining to us what’s going on here. CAMN is a great group. To learn more about them, please take a look at their website: https://camn.org/.