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This required extremely slow speed videography to repeatedly capture cockroaches with the mechanism to prove and understand it. Catania realized that before the wasp can position itself and cast its sting, the cockroach will deter its attacker with a sharp hind leg.
The good news for the cockroach: The defense worked for 63 percent of adults that tried. The bad news: Adolescents have almost always failed and been stung in the brain.
"It reminds of what a movie character would do if a zombie came after them ..."
"The cockroach has a set of behaviors The zombie makers can fend them off, and that starts with the so-called" En garde "position, such as fencing," says Catania.
"This allows the cockroach to move its antenna towards the wasp." Can track an approaching attack and targeting the wasp's head and body, and this is one of the most effective deterrents. It reminds of what a movie character would do if a zombie came after them.
"The wasp usually finds that there is a smaller and less defensive cockroach to be had."
The research appears in the journal Brain, Behavior and Evolution . The National Science Foundation supported the work.
Source: Vanderbilt University