Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of Emerald cockroach wasp (Ampulex compressa) stinger. The female wasp stings and paralyzes the cockroach. She then grabs the cockroach by its mouth parts and drags it to her lair, where she lays her egg in it. The developing larva wasp feeds and develops in the paralyzed cockroach. It stings the cockroach twice, the first sting in the thorax area causes a short and reversible paralysis, while the second sting near the subesophageal ganglion results in submissive, lethargic behaviour. Frequently the cockroach's antenna are severed to allow feeding on the haemolymph. The nest is closed after the wasp deposits an egg on the surface of the cockroach. American cockroaches (Periplaneta americana) groom themselves beyond their normal grooming patterns when stung by Ampulex compressa. They continue to do so even as the wasps cut the ends off their antennae and drink from them. Magnification: x20 when shortest axis.
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