Parasitic wasp sanitizes its victims from the inside out

So, the downside is that you are being eaten alive, from the inside out, by a wasp larva. On the plus side, though, at least it has the courtesy to disinfect you as it goes along. At Nature News you can watch a baby cockroach wasp burrows around through the insides of an American cockroach, leaving a trail of clear, liquid anti-microbials in its wake.


  1. The host is weakened by you eating it; it’s very bad if the host dies due to a secondary infection and the meat you depend on goes off. Given that, excreted antibacterials seem like a sensible evolutionary adaptation.

  2. The anti-microbials aren’t  to protect the roach, that’s been living with the pathogens its whole life, but for the sake of the wasp larvae.  I doubt the gestation period for the wasp is particularly long, and we all know how difficult it is to kill a cockroach anyway.

    I found this sentence touching, at least grading on the cockroach curve:  “The cockroach is both the larva’s only food source and its cradle.”  Of course, mama wasp didn’t bother to ask the roach for permission.

    I also found the fact that someone was able to install a window on a roach every bit as impressive as the fact that they discovered the anti-microbial secretions.  Respect to the glazier!

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