Special wasps native to Thailand have finally been given a name and their title is inspired from the Harry Potter universe.
After holding a vote at Berlin’s Natural History Museum, visitors chose the name Ampulex Dementor. The Ampulex Dementor wasp can literally turn cockroaches into zombies, much like JK Rowling’s Dementors being able to suck the life out of you, leaving you in a frozen and vegetative state.
In order to procreate, the Ampulex Dementor finds a cockroach and stings their head with deadly neurotoxins. The Dementor then takes the cockroach back to its burrow where it proceeds to lay eggs inside the cockroach’s body. As the eggs mature, the Ampulex Dementor feeds off the carcass of the cockroach. It’s definitely a violent end for the cockroach and a creepy way of procreating for these wasps. It seems like Ampulex Dementor is the perfect name for these species!
“What I find interesting about the name is that what is considered a fantasy among humans, the Dementors of Harry Potter, is a reality in the world of insects,” stated Michael Sharkey, an entomologist at the University of Kentucky.
Berlin’s Natural History Museum worked with scientist Michael Ohl to encourage visitors to get excited about the discovery of this new wasp.
“Our public voting of a taxonomic name was received very positively. Visitors were highly interested and during the event spent a significant amount of time asking for details and listening to explanation,” Ohl stated.
Ohl’s findings are published in the peer-reviewed PLoS ONE.
This isn’t the first time scientists turned to pop culture to name a new species. Back in December, scientists named a sea slug after Daenerys Targaryen because their backs were reminiscent of Khaleesi’s braids.