Sea Cockroach: Photos and Features of Life

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Common pest cockroaches include the American, German, Oriental, Madeira, and brownbanded. The Asian cockroach began to cause concern in the United States when it appeared in large numbers in Florida in the late 1980s. All but the American cockroach are introduced species to North America.

Characteristics

Contents

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Cockroaches in general are flat and oval in outline. The head points downward and is protected by the enlarged flanges of the thorax. In many other respects they are similar in morphology to grasshoppers, crickets, katydids, stick insects, and mantids, their closest relatives. Cockroaches may be winged or wingless, but even winged species do not always fly.
Adults range from 1 mm (0.04 in) to more than 9 cm (3.6 in) in length. They are sensitive to light; most species prefer darkness, being largely nocturnal. Their long, hairlike, highly sensitive antennae and sensory bristles enable them to detect tiny amounts of food and moisture. The cerci, sensory structures extending from the rear of the abdomen, can sense minute air movements, enabling the cockroach to rapidly detect and flee from potential danger. Most cockroaches can run very rapidly and are difficult to catch due to their soft, slippery outer skin, called the cuticle. They can hide in very narrow crevices. The oily cuticle also protects them from dehydration. Individual species may be restricted to very specific habitats such as leaf litter, bromeliads, the splash zone of waterfalls, or bat caves. Some species are brightly colored, defying the stereotype of the drab, brown or black household roach. Some species, including the Madeira cockroach, can produce sound.

Life Cycle and Reproductive Behavior

Courtship patterns vary with the species. When the American cockroach is ready to mate, the female produces a chemical odor, or pheromone, that attracts males. The males flap their wings and probe for females with their abdomens when they sense the pheromone; eventually, they back into a female and mating ensues. Other species have more elaborate mating displays, including hissing noises, bobbing and waving of the abdomen, or nibbling. The males of one African species form dominance hierarchies, and the females preferentially mate with the dominant male.

The fertilized eggs that result from mating are cemented together by the female in a sausage-shaped egg case known as the ootheca. The American cockroach simply deposits the ootheca in a protected place and abandons it. German cockroaches keep the ootheca extended from their egg-laying organ, known as the ovipositor, depositing it only when the eggs are ready to hatch. An ootheca contains from 16 to 32 eggs, depending on the species. Female ootheca-tending cockroaches sometimes display maternal care. The nymphs that emerge from the eggs often remain around their mother for several days. Nymphs undergo gradual metamorphosis-that is, they grow and mature in stages, each separated by a molt of the exoskeleton. Each successive stage, or instar, comes to resemble the adult insect more and more. The final molt gives rise to a winged, sexually mature individual.

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The giant Bathynomus is a deep sea crustacean with 14 legs.

This deep sea cockroach can grow up to 20 inches long.

The cockroach has now been identified as belonging to a new species. It has been given the name «Bathynomus raksasa».

The discovery has created a buzz on social media, garnering a number of horrified reactions.

The animal — whose head and compound eyes have earned it the nickname ‘Darth Vader’ — lives on the ocean bed and survives by scavenging for the remains of dead marine animals. They are also capable of going long periods of time without any food.
Fish living in the ocean’s murky depths have evolved.GoPro for beetles: Researchers create a tiny robotic camera.Earth’s magnetic field could provide a ‘universal reference’.The moment a Great White shark took down a 32-foot humpback.

What are isopods?

Isopods are distantly related to crabs and shrimps, and are crustaceans. They received the «sea cockroach» nickname for looking like common cockroaches.

While most marine isopods are tiny, there are large ones too.

Giant isopods are usually found in the deep waters of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans.

They can grow up to an average size of 33cm.

Photo of the front view of one species of giant isopod Bathynomus giganteus, via Wikipedia.

For those that can grow up to 50cm, they are classified as «supergiants».

There are currently five “supergiant” species in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Two were found in the Western Atlantic, as well as the new one found in Indonesian waters for the first time.

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There are now 20 species of giant isopods, including this newly-discovered one. These deep-sea giant isopods are scavengers that feed on dead marine creatures.

However, food can be scarce in deep waters, so they might be able to survive without food for years, according to Miranda Lowe, the Principal Curator of Crustacea at London’s Natural History Museum.

Some isopods can grow to gigantic sizes because they have few natural predators at the depth where they inhabit and/or the need to store more oxygen in the body, Lowe suggested.

As the deep seas remain rather inaccessible and require expensive equipment for survey, much about these creatures remains unknown.

Top photo via St. John’s Island Marine Laboratory/Facebook

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New species of giant isopods

These creatures are not particularly fearsome, and they spend their lives scraping along the bottom of the seafloor foraging for food and generally staying out of other creatures’ way.

They work like garbagemen of the seas as they scavenge on dead sea creatures that drift down to the ocean floor. This serves as their vital link in the food chain.

According to scientists, these creatures are abundant in the world, maybe because they are of little interest to predators. These creatures are not meaty at all that is why humans and other predators have little interest in them.

Additionally, their hard armor protects them well from any attacks. They can curl up like a ball when they are in danger, and they can also go for extended periods without food which makes them incredibly resilient.

Fish living in the ocean’s murky depths have evolved.GoPro for beetles: Researchers create a tiny robotic camera.Earth’s magnetic field could provide a ‘universal reference’.The moment a Great White shark took down a 32-foot humpback.
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