New species of “soul-sucking” wasp named after Harry Potter’s dementors

The fictional fiends from JK Rowling's wizarding world have inspired the name for a species of paralysing insect


Expecto Patronum! 


A new species of wasp has been named after dark Harry Potter characters the Dementors. 

The wasp, which was discovered in Thailand in 2008, is now the newly christened Ampulex dementor, after scientists noticed similarities between the insects and the soul-sucking creatures in JK Rowling’s hit Harry Potter series. 

Sound strange? Well, the A.dementor wasp lays its eggs inside cockroaches who they have partly paralysed with a sting, leaving the cockroach in a unique “docile” state where the victim is physically able to escape, but doesn’t. The eggs then hatch inside the cockroach, and the lava end up consuming the beetle.

Pretty gruesome behaviour which has recognisable parallels to the feared (and luckily fictional) Dementor’s Kiss. As well as feeding off human happiness and generally causing despair wherever they go, the Dementors of the wizarding world attack victims with a kiss, which sucks out a person’s soul leaving them in a permament vegetative state. 


The fitting new name was chosen after visitors to Berlin’s Natural History Museum were asked to vote on a moniker for the critter, in the hope that it would raise visitor involvement and boost interest in science. Other, less fantastical, options were A. mon, A.bicolor and A.plagiator.

The description for the A.dementor name at the museum read: “The species name refers to the dementors, which are fictional characters appearing in Harry Potter books. Dementors are magical beings, which can consume a person’s soul, leaving their victims as an empty but functional body without personality or emotions. The name is an allusion to the docility of the paralyzed cockroach.”