TIME Science

Now There’s an Insect Named After a Harry Potter Character


Hint: those scary soulless guys

The Natural History Museum in Berlin let the public vote on a name for a newly discovered species of wasp in Southeast Asia that eats cockroaches, and the name Ampulex dementor was chosen.

In the Harry Potter series, “dementors” are prison guards that can suck out a person’s soul with just a kiss, so naming the insect after those creatures is “an allusion to the wasps’ behavior to selectively paralyze its cockroach prey,” according to a report by the researchers published in PLOS One at the end of April.

Known for moving in a “typical running and jumping behavior, the red-and-black wasp stings the cockroach in one of its “neural nodes” which allows it to drag “prey in running mode into its nest, just like a zombie,” the ballot given to museum visitors said. Sounds like a pest, alright.

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