Beatrix Kiddo, the heroine played by actress Uma Thurman in the Quentin Tarantino film series "Kill Bill," is the inspiration behind the name of a new species of parasitic wasp.
Recently discovered in Thailand, Cystomastacoides kiddo is a member of the family Braconidae, infamous for their deadly reproductive habits. Female wasps find a suitable host (generally caterpillars) and deposit eggs inside; secreting hormones to protect the brood from the host's immune system. The eggs then hatch into larvae, which slowly feed on the host until they're large enough to eat their way out and kill it. If you're thinking of that stomach-popping scene from "Aliens," you've got the right idea.
Still wondering why Uma Thurman's character (better known by her codename "Black Mamba") was chosen for the honor? A press release goes into a bit more detail, saying:
"The deadly biology of the wasp inspired this reference to the protagonist played by Uma Thurman, where she embodies a deadly assassin and a master of the Tiger/Crane style of kung fu. She is a master of the 'Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique,' a method of killing a person by quickly striking five pressure points around the heart with the fingertips. After the victim takes five steps, the heart explodes and the person falls dead."
To see a similar species of parasitic wasp in action, check out the fascinating/horrifying National Geographic video below.
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