Parasitic wasps in the African Savannahs have the most extraordinary life cycle.
They are called jewel wasps (Ampulex compressa) because of their jewel-y texture and color. Even though they are much smaller than a regular cockroach, they hunt cockroaches for a bizarre reason.
They sneak up to a cockroach and usually impart two stings. The first one disables its offense and the second, directly into its brain. But this doesn’t kill the roach or paralyze it but only disables its escape mechanisms turning it into a zombie. The wasp waits a while for the venom to kick in as the roach slowly loses its grip on reality. When the wasp returns, it first saw off one of the roach’s antenna which scientists believe is to taste the roach’s blood to gauge how effective the sting has been. Too little venom, the roach will recover sooner than needed, or too much, roach may die too soon. The wasp uses the other antenna to lead the stupified roach into its burrow. Once they are completely inside the burrow she lays an egg on the roach’s body after a careful examination.
It then seals the burrow entry with twigs and stones trapping the roach inside with its freshly laid eggs. Once the egg hatches, the newly born baby wasp slowly eats the host cockroach alive! It feeds on its vital internal organs but in a special order to keep it alive for a longer period to retain the warmness of its flesh.
After nearly a month, a fully grown wasp emerges from the burrow leaving behind an empty nest, all set to repeat the process.