Nature and science fiction

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Have you ever noticed how many science fiction movies, either intentionally or not, use aspects of real life to create a frightening creature?
Some things in nature can be truly frightening. Fortunately for us, most of the creatures that exhibit these traits are no match for a well placed shoe or can of bug spray.
Take for instance the Alien movies, where a Xenomorph uses a human host to grow before being “born” as a new life form.
In this stage of the fictional creature’s life, it loosely mimics a real life deep-sea creature called a Phronima.
Xenomorphs also mimic creatures we are all familiar with, ants and bees. The movies portray a queen, which as in real life is responsible for producing all of the offspring for the species. In that respect other members of the Xenomorphs also represent the workers and caretakers of ants and bees.
While watching these movies in my younger days I didn’t put too much thought into how the films incorporated a certain level of what goes on in nature into the creation of fictional creatures.
Recently a number of new species were discovered in the real world. In one instance there’s a bit of a twist. Instead of the new creature inspiring a movie, its moniker was inspired from a creature in a fictional series. The name is the dementor wasp, named after the soul-sucking wraith like creatures portrayed in the Harry Potter series.
This wasp could be seen as a bit scary, for a cockroach anyway. It has the ability to inject a special venom into the abdomen of the roach, which blocks the chemical signals typically associated with movement, leaving the hapless victim easy prey. Once the roach is in a zombie like state the wasp leads it to a safe location where it becomes an easy meal.
I wonder what kind of movie the dementor wasp will inspire.

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