Wasp's Scary Name Inspired by Harry Potter

JK Rowling approves of 'Soul-Sucking Dementor' name
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 29, 2015 1:38 PM CDT
Wasp's Scary Name Inspired by Harry Potter
This guy will suck the soul right out of you (or a nearby roach, its preferred prey).   (Michael Ohl, Museum fuer Naturekund, via Twitter/World Wildlife Fund)

(Newser) – What name is worthy for a ferocious flying insect that swoops down on supposedly indestructible cockroaches, paralyzes them with its devastating sting, then drags them off into a corner to devour them? "Soul-Sucking Dementor" sounded pretty good to visitors at Berlin's Museum fuer Naturkunde. They were offered the chance to crowdsource a moniker for the wasp (official name: Ampulex dementor) discovered last year in Thailand's Mekong region, reports CNN. The inspiration for the name? Creatures in the Harry Potter series that "feed upon human happiness, and thus cause depression and despair to anyone near them … and are known to leave a person as an 'empty-shell.'"

Luckily for us, SSD's favorite meal isn't humans, but cockroaches, and it will do whatever it takes to get what it wants—to wit, by pumping venom into its prey's belly until it "turns the roach into a passive zombie," the World Wildlife Fund explains in a press release introducing some of the 139 new species discovered last year in the Greater Mekong. Letting the public choose the wasp's name had a specific purpose, as described in Plos One: "to link museum visitors emotionally to biodiversity and its discovery." The name resonated especially well with one particular person: JK Rowling. The Harry Potter creator, who's been on fire lately on Twitter, retweeted the WWF's post thanking her for the inspiration for the name. (But could the Soul-Sucking Dementor have taken on this monstrous cockroach?)

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