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JK Rowling's Harry Potter Books Inspire Name For New 'Soul-Sucking Dementor Wasp'

28/05/2015 13:24 BST | Updated 28/05/2015 13:59 BST

A newly discovered species of wasp has been named after the dementor characters in JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series.

The Ampulex dementor wasp from Thailand paralyses its prey with venom before eating them alive – much like the kiss from one of Rowling’s dementors, which sucks out a person’s soul.

According to WWF, the wasp hunts cockroaches, injecting venom into the mass of neurons in the prey’s belly that turn the roach into a “passive zombie”.

dementor wasp

Ampulex dementor

The report adds: “Cockroach wasp venom blocks receptors of the neurotransmitter octopamine, which is involved in the initiation of spontaneous movement.

“With this blocked, the cockroach is still capable of movement, but is unable to direct its own body. Once the cockroach has lost control, the wasp drags its stupefied prey by the antennae to a safe shelter to devour it.”

harry potter dementor

The name of the wasp was inspired by the similar behaviour of JK Rowling's dementors

The beastly being was named by visitors to the Berlin natural history museum Museum für Naturkunde.

Rowling seems pleased with the accolade, tweeting an image of the wasp from WWF, which thanked her for the inspiration.

The wasp was among 139 new species identified in South East Asia’s Greater Mekong region.

But many of the newly discovered species are already at risk from threats such as destruction of their habitat, poaching or the illegal wildlife trade, a Magical Mekong report by wildlife charity WWF warned.

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Teak Seng, conservation director for WWF-Greater Mekong, said: "The Greater Mekong's unique ecosystems are truly the gift that keeps on giving, providing sanctuary for a treasure trove of species and critical benefits for millions of people across the region.

"As Magical Mekong reveals, the scientists behind these discoveries feel they are racing against the clock to document them and strongly advocate for their protection before they disappear."