The Jewel Wasp is an unusual species of insect and represents a rather solitary wasp in the family Ampilicidae.
The species is endemic to the tropical regions of several areas in a habitat range that includes much of Africa, Southern Asia, and the Pacific Islands. The Jewel Wasp is also present in abundant numbers during the warmest portions of the year.
This is a small wasp that usually displays a slight degree of sexual dimorphism. The female averages roughly 0.85 in (22 mm) in length while the male is slightly smaller. In another difference, the male does not possess a stinger. Yet the female does, however. The reason for this is that the stinger plays a role in their reproductive behavior.
Jewel Wasp Distinctive Reproductive Behavior
The Jewel Wasp possesses a unique reproductive behavior, being entomophagous parasites. The female Jewel Wasp actually has a venom with mind-controlling properties.The Jewel Wasp is a unique insect with the female actually possessing a venom with mind-controlling properties.Click To Tweet
After impregnation, she actively seeks out a cockroach, and she then stings her victim twice. The first sting is only administered to the legs, to induce temporary paralysis.
The second sting takes longer. It is delivered to a very specific portion of the nerve cluster that passes for the brain of the cockroach. This leaves the cockroach in a completely compliant state, which lasts for days in a row.
She then leads her victim by its antennae into a burrow and lays a single egg on its exoskeleton. The egg hatches within two days. The larva then proceeds to eat the still paralyzed host. What a horrific death this must be.