Dubia Roach Care Sheet »

Dubia Roach Care Sheet

IMPORTANT: Please be aware that we DO NOT recommend starting your own dubia roach colony. It is common for people to develop an allergy to dubia roaches with too much handling and constant exposure. You might save money long term, but it may not be worth the risk. Handling your dubia roaches in a well-ventilated room, and wearing gloves and a respirator can help reduce the chances of developing an allergy. Our facility has been equipped with high quality air filtration and ventilation systems, and we always wear gloves and respirators to keep the risk to a minimum. Please note that the reactions will start with itchy skin, then move on to itchy eyes, congestion, and ultimately lead to respiratory issues. Let us provide your dubia roaches as you need them with minimal exposure and risk of developing allergies.

Housing

Dubia roaches need to be housed in containers with smooth sides so they aren’t able to climb out of their enclosure. Although they are not known to climb, they will be able to use rough-surfaced walls as toe holds and may reach the top of the enclosure. Glass aquariums, 10 gallons at a minimum, or plastic tubs, 40 qt. at a minimum, can be used. Although the roaches can’t climb, it’s wise to cover their enclosure so unwanted materials, pests or household pets can’t get in. Aquariums can be covered with mesh screen covers used for reptiles. Most plastic tubs are sold with heavy duty plastic covers. In order to provide ventilation for a plastic tub, cut a hole in the cover, at least 6”x6” and hot-glue some vinyl mesh over the opening.

Dubia roaches need places to stand and places to hide. Cardboard egg crate flats provide the most surface area per square inch. You may be able to get egg crate flats from a bakery or store like Walmart or you can buy them from us. It’s best to stack the egg crate flats vertically so the Dubia roach droppings fall to the bottom of the enclosure. Make sure that the cover is on tightly and that the egg crate doesn’t extend so close to the top of the enclosure that the roaches can step out.

Heat and Humidity

Although Dubia roaches can survive at room temperature, they require an ambient temperature of 90-95 F to successfully breed, and do best with about 60% humidity. If you have an area of your home that naturally reaches the required temperature there is no need for an additional heat source. If heat is needed, it can best be provided by using a ceramic heat emitter, an Under Tank Heater (UTH), or coated heat cable. The ceramic heat emitter should be installed at the top of the enclosure to radiate heat downward; the UTH can be attached to the side or bottom of the enclosure. If the UTH is to be placed on the outside bottom of the enclosure, be sure to raise the tub or tank at least 1/4″ to vent the heat (most UTH’s come with plastic «feet» that can be installed. Small tiles or shims could also be used). In order to control the temperature of the UTH and to prevent an overly hot UTH from melting a plastic enclosure, use a thermostat or a lamp dimmer (rheostat) to keep the temperature in the low to mid 90’s. The warm temperatures and use of water crystals for hydration (see below) should lead to appropriate humidity. There is no need to use any kind of substrate or bedding at the bottom of the enclosure. Adding substrate will only make it more difficult to keep the enclosure clean.

Food and Water

Good nutrition and hydration result in healthy Dubia roaches. Healthy Dubia roaches provide equally good nutrition to the animals that feed on them. Roaches can eat a variety of dry fruit, grain or plant-based food including: commercially available Roach Chow, powdered grains, commercially available insect gutload, a variety of fruits and vegetables, especially orange ones which contain carotenoids. Low moisture vegetable parings such as potato or other parings, apple cores or broccoli stalks can also be added. Be sure to remove fruit and vegetables before they get moldy; mold is lethal to roach colonies. Avoid high protein foods such as dog or cat food and meat, since Dubia roaches convert excess protein into uric acid which can harm the reptiles that eat them.

The most effective way to provide water is by using water crystals, a polymer based material that holds water. This method will minimize the chance of the roaches drowning. Be sure to put the food and the water in shallow bowls that the Dubia roaches can climb in and out of and to keep the food and water bowls separate so the food doesn’t get wet and moldy.

Cleaning

Dubia Roaches produce dry droppings called «frass». Their enclosures will need to be cleaned every 1-2 weeks to reduce buildup of frass and shed exo-skeletons. It’s useful to have an extra enclosure when cleaning. Transfer the egg crate flats with the Dubia Roaches and the food and water dishes (which may contain roaches as well) to the extra container. Scoop up what remains at the bottom of the enclosure and sift out the frass. The roaches that remain can then be transferred to the extra enclosure as well, or put back into the original enclosure with the other materials.

Important Note

Some people can develop an allergy to dubia roaches or their frass (droppings) with too much handling and constant contact. This is more likely to occur if you are breeding roaches, since it will dramatically increase the intensity of contact. The best way to avoid developing an allergy is to handle your Dubia roaches in a well ventilated room, and wear gloves if possible.

dubiaroaches.com

Dubia Roaches

591.41 ₽ – 674.57 ₽ ex VAT

Our Dubia Roaches are supplied in 2 different sizes packed in ventilated plastic tubs. Just choose your preferred size from the drop-down list below. It may take up to 10 working days (except holidays and weekends) before this order is shipped. In case if for whatever reason we can’t get the live food in the 10 working days your payment will be refunded. If there are any questions you have then please get in touch before you place an order.

Description

The product which is being offered here is the high quality live Dubia Roaches (Blaptica dubia) . They are the most popular feeder roaches for a variety of reptiles, amphibians, arachnids, and fish. The high protein and excellent nutritional value of Dubia Roaches make them a superior feeder insect: easier to keep than crickets, more mobile than super worms or mealworms for a better feeding response.

Blaptica dubia, the Dubia Roach, also known as the Orange-Spotted Roach, Guyana Spotted Roach, or Argentinian Wood Roach, is a medium-sized species of cockroach which grows to around 40 – 45 mm. They are sexually dimorphic; adult males have full wings covering their body, while females have only tiny wing stubs, their tegmina (forewings) being around a fourth of their body length. Adults are dark brown to black with somewhat lighter orange spot/stripe patterning sometimes visible only in bright light. The coloration does differ slightly with the environment and diet from one colony to another. Blaptica dubia are partially ovoviviparous, giving birth to live young after eggs hatch inside the female, and can give birth to 20 to 40 nymphs per month under favorable conditions. Blaptica dubia is found in Central and South America, beginning in Costa Rica. It is common from French Guiana and Brazil to Argentina.

For keeping and/or breeding purposes, Dubia Roaches need to be housed in containers with smooth sides so they aren’t able to climb out of their enclosure. Although they are not known to climb, they will be able to use rough-surfaced walls as toe holds and may reach the top of the enclosure. Minimum 40-liter glass aquariums or plastic containers can be used. Although the roaches can’t climb, it’s wise to cover their enclosure so unwanted materials, pests or household pets can’t get in. Aquariums can be covered with mesh screen covers used for reptiles. Most plastic tubs are sold with heavy-duty plastic covers. In order to provide ventilation for a plastic tub, cut a hole in the cover, at least 15 x 15 cm and hot-glue some vinyl mesh over the opening.

Dubia Roaches need places to stand and places to hide. Cardboard egg crate flats provide the most surface area per square centimeter. You may be able to get egg crate flats from a bakery or store like Tesco. It’s best to stack the egg crate flats vertically so the Dubia Roach droppings fall to the bottom of the enclosure. Make sure that the cover is on tightly and that the egg crate doesn’t extend so close to the top of the enclosure that the roaches can step out.

Although Dubia Roaches can survive at room temperature, they require an ambient temperature of 32°C – 35°C to successfully breed, and do best with about 60% humidity. If you have an area of your home that naturally reaches the required temperature there is no need for an additional heat source. If heat is needed, it can best be provided by using a ceramic heat emitter, an Under Tank Heater (UTH), or coated heat cable. The ceramic heat emitter should be installed at the top of the enclosure to radiate heat downward; the UTH can be attached to the side or bottom of the enclosure. If the UTH is to be placed on the outside bottom of the enclosure, be sure to raise the tub or tank at least 1 cm to vent the heat (most UTH’s come with plastic “feet” that can be installed. Small tiles or shims could also be used. In order to control the temperature of the UTH and to prevent an overly hot UTH from melting a plastic enclosure, use a thermostat or a lamp dimmer (rheostat) to keep the temperature 32°C – 35°C. The warm temperatures and use of water crystals for hydration (see below) should lead to appropriate humidity. There is no need to use any kind of substrate or bedding at the bottom of the enclosure. Adding a substrate will only make it more difficult to keep the enclosure clean.

Good nutrition and hydration result in healthy Dubia Roaches. Healthy Dubia Roaches provide equally good nutrition to the animals that feed on them. Roaches can eat a variety of dry fruit, grain or plant-based food including commercially available Roach Chow, powdered grains, commercially available insect gut load, a variety of fruits and vegetables, especially orange ones that contain carotenoids. Low moisture vegetable parings such as potato or other parings, apple cores or broccoli stalks can also be added. Be sure to remove fruit and vegetables before they get moldy; mold is lethal to roach colonies. Avoid high protein foods such as a dog or cat food and meat, since Dubia Roaches convert excess protein into uric acid which can harm the reptiles that eat them.

The most effective way to provide water is by using water crystals, a polymer-based material that holds water. This method will minimize the chance of the roaches drowning. Be sure to put the food and the water in shallow bowls that the Dubia roaches can climb in and out of and to keep the food and water bowls separate so the food doesn’t get wet and moldy.

Dubia Roaches produce dry droppings called “frass”. Their enclosures will need to be cleaned every 1 – 2 weeks to reduce the buildup of frass and shed exoskeletons. It’s useful to have an extra enclosure when cleaning. Transfer the egg crate flats with the Dubia Roaches and the food and water dishes (which may contain roaches as well) to the extra container. Scoop up what remains at the bottom of the enclosure and sift out the frass. The roaches that remain can then be transferred to the extra enclosure as well or put back into the original enclosure with the other materials.

See also:  How to Get Bed Bugs Out of Your Hair

Important Note : Some people can develop an allergy to Dubia Roaches or their frass (droppings) with too much handling and constant contact. This is more likely to occur if you are breeding roaches since it will dramatically increase the intensity of the contact. The best way to avoid developing an allergy is to handle your Dubia Roaches in a well-ventilated room and wear gloves if possible.

Want to know more about Dubia roaches? Check out this Wikipedia article and watch a good video guide showing and explaining the keeping and breeding conditions for Dubia Roaches by clicking here .

It is suggested that to ensure the freshness of this product that orders are placed on a weekly basis. We combine the shipping cost if you order more fish or other goods. Please carefully check our Delivery Conditions before you place an order.

aquarium.directory

Argentine cockroach: breeding and keeping conditions, morphological description of blaptica dubia

    Für den höheren Bedarf an gesunden Futterinsekten und zur Vorratshaltung Argentinische Schaben — gesundes Reptilienfutter zum Tiefpreis Hochwertige Futtertiere aus kontrollierter Zucht In verschiedenen Größen erhältlich

Argentine cockroaches — for the higher need of feed animals in the low-priced large pack of feed insects

Cockroaches have a bad reputation. Cockroaches are considered to be pests and some people lose their appetite when only the term «cockroach», «cockroach» or «cockroach» is mentioned. Of course this is understandable and only a few of us will spontaneously remember that some cockroach species provide very good food for reptiles. If you want to be fair, you should also look at cockroaches from the other side — then they turn out to be fascinating creatures. Cockroaches have lived on earth for 200 million years and they are true survivors who can adapt to the most extreme conditions. Cockroaches only became pests in their role as followers of culture. Where man and garbage spread, the cockroaches were not far away. While the cockroach itself is neither toxic nor dangerous, this does not apply to the contents of goitre and faeces. Various pathogens gather here, which are anything but harmless for humans. But: cockroach is by no means equal cockroach! And we would not recommend every cockroach species as food insects for reptiles. The Argentine cockroaches, which we offer you here, are even excellently suitable as feed animals!

The Argentine cockroach is an all-round healthy feeding insect that is perfectly suited for feeding larger reptiles. The Argentine cockroach is rich in valuable proteins, high in calcium and many other nutrients that contribute to the healthy development of reptiles. The fat content of these large food animals (Argentine cockroaches can become up to 6 cm long!) is exemplary low. What speaks for the Argentine cockroaches as feed animals is the fact that this cockroach species does not come from our latitudes. Argentine cockroaches live in the warm and humid forests of South America and cannot reproduce or survive outside this climate zone. Argentine cockroaches do not lay eggs — another advantage — as they do not survive long enough to give birth in this country. Besides: Argentine cockroaches are quite bad climbers, which makes the escape of the feed animals from normal storage containers at least strongly more difficult.

Many larger reptiles love cockroaches as food insects! Cockroaches seem to have a particularly attractive taste for reptiles. The Argentine cockroaches are very suitable as live food e.g. for adult bearded dragons or monitor lizards. If you have a higher need for these healthy food insects, we offer Argentine cockroaches in large packs. Simply take care of the housing of the feed insects yourself and save money.

Our large box of food insects is well filled — there are always at least 100 cockroaches in a large food pack. You can choose between two sizes of Argentine cockroaches, depending on the size of the reptiles to be fed.

Argentine cockroaches big, body length of the feed-animals approx. 4-5 cm
Argentine cockroaches medium, body length of the feed-animals approx. 2-3 cm

www.reptilienkosmos.de

INVERTEBRATES-MAGAZINE

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Blaberidae
Blattellidae
Blattidae
Cryptocercidae
Polyphagidae
Nocticolidae
Tryonicidae
Lamproblattidae

Cockroaches are insects of the order Blattodea, which also includes termites. About 30 cockroach species out of 4,600 are associated with human habitats. About four species are well known as pests.

The cockroaches are an ancient group, dating back at least as far as the Carboniferous period, some 320 million years ago. Those early ancestors however lacked the internal ovipositors of modern roaches. Cockroaches are somewhat generalized insects without special adaptations like the sucking mouthparts of Hemiptera; they have chewing mouthparts and are likely among the most primitive of living neopteran insects. They are common and hardy insects, and can tolerate a wide range of environments from Arctic cold to tropical heat. Tropical cockroaches are often much bigger than temperate species, and, contrary to popular belief, extinct cockroach relatives and ‘roachoids’ such as the Carboniferous Archimylacris and the Permian Apthoroblattina were not as large as the biggest modern species.

Some species, such as the gregarious German cockroach, have an elaborate social structure involving common shelter, social dependence, information transfer and kin recognition. Cockroaches have appeared in human culture since classical antiquity. They are popularly depicted as dirty pests, though the great majority of species are inoffensive and live in a wide range of habitats around the world.

Contents

  • 1 Taxonomy and evolution
  • 2 Description
  • 3 Distribution and habitat
  • 4 Behavior
    • 4.1 Collective decision-making
    • 4.2 Social behavior
    • 4.3 Sounds
  • 5 Biology
    • 5.1 Digestive tract
    • 5.2 Tracheae and breathing
    • 5.3 Reproduction
    • 5.4 Hardiness
  • 6 Relationship with humans
    • 6.1 In research and education
    • 6.2 As pests
      • 6.2.1 Control
    • 6.3 Conservation
    • 6.4 In culture
  • 7 References
  • 8 External links

Taxonomy and evolution

Cockroaches are members of the order Blattodea, which includes the termites, a group of insects once thought to be separate from cockroaches. Currently, 4,600 species and over 460 genera are described worldwide. [1] [2] The name «cockroach» comes from the Spanish word for cockroach, cucaracha, transformed by 1620s English folk etymology into «cock» and «roach». [3] The scientific name derives from the Latin blatta, «an insect that shuns the light», which in classical Latin was applied not only to cockroaches, but also to mantids. [4] [5]

Historically, the name Blattaria was used largely interchangeably with the name Blattodea, but whilst the former name was used to refer to ‘true’ cockroaches exclusively, the latter also includes the termites. The current catalogue of world cockroach species uses the name Blattodea for the group. [1] Another name, Blattoptera, is also sometimes used. [6] The earliest cockroach-like fossils («blattopterans» or «roachids») are from the Carboniferous period 320 million years ago, as are fossil roachoid nymphs. [7] [8] [9]

Since the 19th century, scientists believed that cockroaches were an ancient group of insects that had a Devonian origin, according to one hypothesis. [10] Fossil roachoids that lived during that time differ from modern cockroaches in having long external ovipositors and are the ancestors of mantises, as well as modern blattodeans. As the body, hind wings and mouthparts are not preserved in fossils frequently, the relationship of these roachoids and modern cockroaches remains disputed. The first fossils of modern cockroaches with internal ovipositors appeared in the early Cretaceous. A recent phylogenetic analysis suggests that cockroaches originated at least in the Jurassic. [10]

The evolutionary relationships of the Blattodea (cockroaches and termites) shown in the cladogram are based on Eggleton, Beccaloni & Inward (2007). [11] The cockroach families Lamproblattidae and Tryonicidae are not shown but are placed within the superfamily Blattoidea. The cockroach families Corydiidae and Ectobiidae were previously known as the Polyphagidae and Blattellidae. [12]

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Praying Mantids (Order: Mantodea)

A Praying Mantis (Hierodula patellifera) in typical ‘praying’ posture.
Photograph by OpenCage licensed under Creative Commons.

Introduction

Praying Mantids get their common name from the stance they commonly adopt. The fore legs are raised as if in the act of prayer, the name mantis is also derived from the Greek word for prophet. Of course, the legs are actually raised so that they can be used to grasp any prey that strays close to the mantis.

They have voracious appetites and for this reason they are sometimes, incorrectly, called «Preying Mantids». Mantids will eat prey of a similar size to themselves and bigger species will eat vertebrates including mice, lizards and frogs.

Mantids first appeared in the fossil record roughly 35 million years ago and they are related to cockroaches and, more distantly, the grasshoppers and crickets.

Roughly 2300 species of Praying Mantis have been described and 18 species can be found in southern and central Europe but none are found in Great Britain.

Main characteristics of Praying Mantids

Mantids are medium to large insects (10 — 200mm ) with large raptorial (adapted for the seizing prey) fore legs. The fore legs have rows of spines along the femur and tibia and these are used to grasp prey rather like closing the blade of a pen-knife.

Mantids have a very mobile head that is triangular in shape. They have two very large compound eyes. The fore wings are leathery and, at rest, lie over the top of membranous hind wings to protect them. Not all species of mantis can fly but, those that do, are good fliers and are often attracted to lights at night.

It is often difficult to differentiate male and female mantids and usually this can only be done by counting the number of abdominal segments of adults. In most species eight segments can be counted on the underside of the abdomen of a male and six on that of the female (in some species the end segments are difficult to see and only seven or five may be counted).

Life-history

Female mantids lay a large egg mass called an ootheca. The ootheca has a honey-comb like structure and is frothy when first laid but quickly hardens. Ootheca are usually attached to twigs and branches or, in some species, laid under rocks and stones.

Mantids undergo incomplete metamorphosis and the nymphs look like small versions of the adults. The wings only appear at the final moult.

It is commonly believed that female mantids devour their mate during copulation. However, studies have suggested that this behaviour is not commonly observed in the wild and may be caused by artificial conditions experienced by captive mantids.

The average lifespan for praying mantids is twelve months but, in captivity, they can live longer. There is a Praying Mantid Caresheet available on this site.

A photograph of Praying Mantis ootheca attached to a stick.
Photograph by Kropsoq, used under GFDL

Classification

At one time the mantids were considered to be part of the Order: Orthoptera (Grasshoppers and Crickets) but have since been classified as a separate Order called Mantodea. The Order Mantodea contains eight families of which the largest is the Mantidae.

How to find them

Eighteen species can be found in southern and central Europe but none are found in Great Britain. Mantids are often cryptically camouflaged and can be hard to spot in foliage. Perhaps the best way to see mantids is to look for them near outside lights at night. They are attracted to lights and often sit close-by feeding on moths and other insects.

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Cockroach Allergy

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As disturbing as this may sound, cockroaches aren’t just unsightly pests, crawling across your kitchen floor in the middle of the night. They can be an allergy trigger as well.

The saliva, feces and shedding body parts of cockroaches can trigger both asthma and allergies. These allergens act like dust mites, aggravating symptoms when they are kicked up in the air.

The National Pest Management Association reports that 63% of homes in the United States contain cockroach allergens. In urban areas, that number rises to between 78% and 98% of homes. An allergist can evaluate whether you’re allergic to cockroaches.

Find an allergist

Typical cockroach allergy symptoms include:

  • Coughing
  • Nasal congestion
  • Skin rash
  • Wheezing
  • Ear infection
  • Sinus infection

In many cases with cockroach allergens, these symptoms become chronic, lasting beyond typical seasonal allergies.

If you suspect that you have a cockroach allergy, see an allergist, who can conduct a skin test. This test involves applying a diluted allergen to the surface of your skin, waiting about 15 minutes, then observing to see if there’s a reaction, such as a raised, red and itchy bump.

If a reaction develops, your allergist may recommend medications, either prescription or over-the-counter, or allergy shots, which help your body become less sensitive to specific allergens.

Of course, one of the best ways to treat and prevent cockroach allergies is to eliminate these insects from your home. Key tips include:

  • Keep your house clean, including kitchen floors, sinks, counters and stoves.
  • Keep food containers and garbage cans sealed.
  • Fix any leaks that could unknowingly give cockroaches access to water.
  • Avoid piles — of newspapers, laundry, magazines or dirty dishes.
  • Consult a pest control company or exterminator.

acaai.org

cockroach

WordNet

  1. any of numerous chiefly nocturnal insects; some are domestic pests (同)roach
  2. in some classifications replaced by the orders (here suborders) Blattodea (cockroaches) and Manteodea (mantids); in former classifications often subsumed under a much broader order Orthoptera (同)order Dictyoptera
  3. cosmopolitan genus of large cockroaches (同)genus Periplaneta
  4. a family of Blattodea (同)family Cryptocercidae
  5. dark brown cockroach originally from orient now nearly cosmopolitan in distribution (同)oriental roach, Asiatic cockroach, blackbeetle, Blatta orientalis
  6. small light-brown cockroach brought to United States from Europe; a common household pest (同)Croton bug, crotonbug, water_bug, Blattella germanica
  7. widely distributed in warm countries (同)Periplaneta australasiae
  8. large tropical American cockroaches

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Wikipedia preview

wiki en

Temporal range: 145–0 Ma

Cretaceous–recent

Common household cockroaches

A) German cockroach
B) American cockroach
C) Australian cockroach

D&E) Oriental cockroach (♀ & ♂)

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Hexapoda
Class: Insecta
Subclass: Pterygota
Infraclass: Neoptera
Superorder: Dictyoptera
Order: Blattodea
Families
Dictyoptera
Blattodea
Blattoidea
Termitoidea (Termites)

Cryptocercidae (brown-hooded cockroaches)

Blattidae (Oriental, American and other cockroaches)

Blaberidae (Giant cockroaches)

Corydiidae (Sand cockroaches, etc)

Nocticolidae (Cave cockroaches, etc)

Termites were previously regarded as a separate order Isoptera to cockroaches. However, recent genetic evidence strongly suggests that they evolved directly from ‘true’ cockroaches, and many authors now place them as an «epifamily» of Blattodea. [11] This evidence supported a hypothesis suggested in 1934 that termites are closely related to the wood-eating cockroaches (genus Cryptocercus). This hypothesis was originally based on similarity of the symbiotic gut flagellates in termites regarded as living fossils and wood-eating cockroaches. [13] Additional evidence emerged when F. A. McKittrick (1965) noted similar morphological characteristics between some termites and cockroach nymphs. [14] The similarities among these cockroaches and termites have led some scientists to reclassify termites as a single family, the Termitidae, within the order Blattodea. [11] [15] Other scientists have taken a more conservative approach, proposing to retain the termites as the Termitoidea, an epifamily within the order. Such measure preserves the classification of termites at family level and below. [16]

Description

Most species of cockroach are about the size of a thumbnail, but several species are bigger. The world’s heaviest cockroach is the Australian giant burrowing cockroach Macropanesthia rhinoceros, which can reach 9 cm (3.5 in) in length and weigh more than 30 g (1.1 oz). [17] Comparable in size is the Central American giant cockroach Blaberus giganteus, which grows to a similar length. [18] The longest cockroach species is Megaloblatta longipennis, which can reach 97 mm (3.8 in) in length and 45 mm (1.8 in) across. [19] A Central and South American species, Megaloblatta blaberoides, has the largest wingspan of up to 185 mm (7.3 in). [20]

Cockroaches are generalized insects, with few special adaptations, and may be among the most primitive living neopteran insects. They have a relatively small head and a broad, flattened body, and most species are reddish-brown to dark brown. They have large compound eyes, two ocelli, and long, flexible antennae. The mouthparts are on the underside of the head and include generalized chewing mandibles, salivary glands and various touch and taste receptors. [21]

The body is divided into a thorax of three segments and a ten-segmented abdomen. The external surface has a tough exoskeleton which contains calcium carbonate and protects the inner organs and provides attachment to muscles. It is coated with wax to repel water. The wings are attached to the second and third thoracic segments. The tegmina, or first pair of wings, are tough and protective, lying as a shield on top of the membranous hind wings, which are used in flight. All four wings have branching longitudinal veins, and multiple cross-veins. [22]

The three pairs of legs are sturdy, with large coxae and five claws each. [22] They are attached to each of the three thoracic segments. The front legs are the shortest and the hind legs the longest, providing the main propulsive power when the insect runs. [21] The spines on the legs were earlier considered to be sensory, but observations of the insect’s gait on sand and wire meshes have demonstrated that they help in locomotion on difficult terrain. The structures have been used as inspiration for robotic legs. [23] [24]

The abdomen has ten segments, each with a pair of spiracles for respiration. Segment ten bears a pair of cerci, a pair of anal styles, the anus and the external genitalia. Males have an aedeagus through which they secrete sperm during copulation and females have spermathecae for storing sperm and an ovipositor through which the ootheca is laid. [21]

Distribution and habitat

Cockroaches are abundant throughout the world and live in a wide range of environments, especially in the tropics and subtropics. [25] Cockroaches can withstand extremely cold temperatures, allowing them to live in the Arctic. Some species are capable of surviving temperatures of −188 °F (−122 °C) by manufacturing an antifreeze made out of glycerol. [26] In North America, 50 species separated into five families are found throughout the continent. [25] 450 species are found in Australia. [27] Only about four widespread species are commonly regarded as pests. [28] [29]

Cockroaches occupy a wide range of habitats. Many live in leaf litter, among the stems of matted vegetation, in rotting wood, in holes in stumps, in cavities under bark, under log piles and among debris. Some live in arid regions and have developed mechanisms to survive without access to water sources. Others are aquatic, living near the surface of water bodies, including bromeliad phytotelmata, and diving to forage for food. Most of these respire by piercing the water surface with the tip of the abdomen which acts as a snorkel, but some carry a bubble of air under their thoracic shield when they submerge. Others live in the forest canopy where they may be one of the main types of invertebrate present. Here they may hide during the day in crevices, among dead leaves, in bird and insect nests or among epiphytes, emerging at night to feed. [30]

Behavior

Cockroaches are social insects; a large number of species are either gregarious or inclined to aggregate, and a slightly smaller number exhibit parental care. [31] It used to be thought that cockroaches aggregated because they were reacting to environmental cues, but it is now believed that pheromones are involved in these behaviors. Some species secrete these in their feces with gut microbial symbionts being involved, while others use glands located on their mandibles. Pheromones produced by the cuticle may enable cockroaches to distinguish between different populations of cockroach by odor. The behaviors involved have only been studied in a few species, but German cockroaches leave fecal trails with an odor gradient. [31] Other cockroaches follow such trails to discover sources of food and water, and where other cockroaches are hiding. Thus, cockroaches have emergent behavior, in which group or swarm behavior emerges from a simple set of individual interactions. [32]

Daily rhythms may also be regulated by a complex set of hormonal controls of which only a small subset have been understood. In 2005, the role of one of these proteins, pigment dispersing factor (PDF), was isolated and found to be a key mediator in the circadian rhythms of the cockroach. [33]

Pest species adapt readily to a variety of environments, but prefer warm conditions found within buildings. Many tropical species prefer even warmer environments. Cockroaches are mainly nocturnal [34] and run away when exposed to light. An exception to this is the Asian cockroach, which flies mostly at night but is attracted to brightly-lit surfaces and pale colors. [35]

Collective decision-making

Gregarious cockroaches display collective decision-making when choosing food sources. When a sufficient number of individuals (a «quorum») exploits a food source, this signals to newcomer cockroaches that they should stay there longer rather than leave for elsewhere. [36] Other mathematical models have been developed to explain aggregation dynamics and conspecific recognition. [37] [38]

Group-based decision-making is responsible for complex behaviors such as resource allocation. In a study where 50 cockroaches were placed in a dish with three shelters with a capacity for 40 insects in each, the insects arranged themselves in two shelters with 25 insects in each, leaving the third shelter empty. When the capacity of the shelters was increased to more than 50 insects per shelter, all of the cockroaches arranged themselves in one shelter. Cooperation and competition are balanced in cockroach group decision-making behavior. [32]

Cockroaches appear to use just two pieces of information to decide where to go, namely how dark it is and how many other cockroaches there are. A study used specially-scented roach-sized robots that appear to the roaches as real to demonstrate that once there are enough insects in a place to form a critical mass, the roaches accepted the collective decision on where to hide, even if this was an unusually light place. [39]

Social behavior

Gregarious German cockroaches show different behavior when reared in isolation from when reared in a group. In one study, isolated cockroaches were less likely to leave their shelters and explore, spent less time eating, interacted less with conspecifics when exposed to them, and took longer to recognize receptive females. Because these changes occurred in many contexts, the authors suggested them as constituting a behavioral syndrome. These effects might have been due either to reduced metabolic and developmental rates in isolated individuals or the fact that the isolated individuals hadn’t had a training period to learn about what others were like via their antennae. [40]

Individual American cockroaches appear to have consistently different «personalities» regarding how they seek shelter. In addition, group personality is not simply the sum of individual choices, but reflects conformity and collective decision-making. [41] [42]

The gregarious German and American cockroaches have elaborate social structure, chemical signalling, and «social herd» characteristics. Lihoreau and his fellow researchers stated: [32]

«The social biology of domiciliary cockroaches . can be characterized by a common shelter, overlapping generations, non-closure of groups, equal reproductive potential of group members, an absence of task specialization, high levels of social dependence, central place foraging, social information transfer, kin recognition, and a meta-population structure». [32]

Sounds

Some species make a hissing noise while other cockroaches make a chirping noise. The Madagascar hissing cockroach produces its sound through the modified spiracles on the fourth abdominal segment. Several different hisses are produced, including disturbance sounds, produced by adults and larger nymphs, and aggressive, courtship and copulatory sounds produced by adult males. [43] Henschoutedenia epilamproides has a stridulatory organ between its thorax and abdomen, but the purpose of the sound produced is unclear. [44]

Several Australian species practice acoustic and vibration behavior as an aspect of courtship. They have been observed producing hisses and whistles from air forced through the spiracles. Furthermore, in the presence of a potential mate, some cockroaches tap the substrate in a rhythmic, repetitive manner. Acoustic signals may be of greater prevalence amongst perching species, particularly those that live on low vegetation in Australia’s tropics. [45]

Biology

Digestive tract

Cockroaches are generally omnivorous; the American cockroach (Periplaneta americana), for example, feeds on a great variety of foodstuffs including bread, fruit, leather, starch in book bindings, paper, glue, skin flakes, hair, dead insects and soiled clothing. [46] Many species of cockroach harbor symbiotic protozoans and bacteria in their gut which are able to digest cellulose. In many species, these symbionts may be essential if the insect is to utilize cellulose, however some species secrete cellulase in their saliva, and the wood-eating cockroach, Panesthia cribrata, is able to survive indefinitely on a diet of crystallized cellulose while being free of micro-organisms. [47]

The similarity of these symbionts in the genus Cryptocercus to those in termites are such that these cockroaches have been suggested to be more closely related to termites than to other cockroaches, [48] and current research strongly supports this hypothesis about their relationships. [49] All species studied so far carry the obligate mutualistic endosymbiont bacterium Blattabacterium, with the exception of Nocticola australiensise, an Australian cave-dwelling species without eyes, pigment or wings, which recent genetic studies indicate is a very primitive cockroach. [50] [51] It had previously been thought that all five families of cockroach were descended from a common ancestor that was infected with B. cuenoti. It may be that N. australiensise subsequently lost its symbionts, or alternatively this hypothesis will need to be re-examined. [51]

Tracheae and breathing

Like other insects, cockroaches breathe through a system of tubes called tracheae which are attached to openings called spiracles on all body segments. When the carbon dioxide level in the insect rises high enough, valves on the spiracles open and carbon dioxide diffuses out and oxygen diffuses in. The tracheal system branches repeatedly, the finest tracheoles bringing air directly to each cell, allowing gaseous exchange to take place. [52]

While cockroaches do not have lungs as do vertebrates, and can continue to respire if their heads are removed, in some very large species, the body musculature may contract rhythmically to forcibly move air in and out of the spiracles; this may be considered a form of breathing. [52]

Reproduction

Cockroaches use pheromones to attract mates, and the males practice courtship rituals, such as posturing and stridulation. Like many insects, cockroaches mate facing away from each other with their genitalia in contact, and copulation can be prolonged. A few species are known to be parthenogenetic, reproducing without the need for males. [22]

Female cockroaches are sometimes seen carrying egg cases on the end of their abdomens; the German cockroach holds about 30 to 40 long, thin eggs in a case called an ootheca. She drops the capsule prior to hatching, though live births do occur in rare instances. The egg capsule may take more than five hours to lay and is initially bright white in color. The eggs are hatched from the combined pressure of the hatchlings gulping air. The hatchlings are initially bright white nymphs and continue inflating themselves with air, becoming harder and darker within about four hours. Their transient white stage while hatching and later while molting has led to claims of albino cockroaches. [22] Development from eggs to adults takes three to four months. Cockroaches live up to a year, and the female may produce up to eight egg cases in a lifetime; in favorable conditions, she can produce 300 to 400 offspring. Other species of cockroaches, however, can produce far more eggs; in some cases a female needs to be impregnated only once to be able to lay eggs for the rest of her life. [22]

The female usually attaches the egg case to a substrate, inserts it into a suitably protective crevice, or carries it about until just before the eggs hatch. Some species, however, are ovoviviparous, keeping the eggs inside their body, with or without an egg case, until they hatch. At least one genus, Diploptera, is fully viviparous. [22]

Cockroaches have incomplete metamorphosis, meaning that the nymphs are generally similar to the adults, except for undeveloped wings and genitalia. Development is generally slow, and may take a few months to over a year. The adults are also long-lived, and have survived for as much as four years in the laboratory. [22]

3 millimeter cockroach nymph

Female Periplaneta fuliginosa with ootheca

American cockroach oothecae

Hardiness

Cockroaches are among the hardiest insects. Some species are capable of remaining active for a month without food and are able to survive on limited resources, such as the glue from the back of postage stamps. [53] Some can go without air for 45 minutes. Japanese cockroach (Periplaneta japonica) nymphs, which hibernate in cold winters, survived twelve hours at −5 °C to −8 °C in laboratory experiments. [54]

Experiments on decapitated specimens of several species of cockroach found a variety of behavioral functionality remained, including shock avoidance and escape behavior, although many insects other than cockroaches are also able to survive decapitation, and popular claims of the longevity of headless cockroaches do not appear to be based on published research. [55] [56] The severed head is able to survive and wave its antennae for several hours, or longer when refrigerated and given nutrients. [56]

It is popularly suggested that cockroaches will «inherit the earth» if humanity destroys itself in a nuclear war. Cockroaches do indeed have a much higher radiation resistance than vertebrates, with the lethal dose perhaps six to 15 times that for humans. However, they are not exceptionally radiation-resistant compared to other insects, such as the fruit fly. [57]

The cockroach’s ability to withstand radiation better than human beings can be explained through the cell cycle. Cells are most vulnerable to the effects of radiation when they are dividing. A cockroach’s cells divide only once each time it molts, which is weekly at most in a juvenile roach. Since not all cockroaches would be molting at the same time, many would be unaffected by an acute burst of radiation, but lingering radioactive fallout would still be harmful. [52]

Relationship with humans

In research and education

Because of their ease of rearing and resilience, cockroaches have been used as insect models in the laboratory, particularly in the fields of neurobiology, reproductive physiology and social behavior. [31]

The cockroach is a convenient insect to study as it is large and simple to raise in a laboratory environment. This makes it suitable both for research and for school and undergraduate biology studies. It can be used in experiments on topics such as learning, sexual pheromones, spatial orientation, aggression, activity rhythms and the biological clock, and behavioral ecology. [58]

As pests

The Blattodea include some thirty species of cockroaches associated with humans; these species are atypical of the thousands of species in the order. [59] They feed on human and pet food and can leave an offensive odor. [60] They can passively transport pathogenic microbes on their body surfaces, particularly in environments such as hospitals. [61] [62] Cockroaches are linked with allergic reactions in humans. [63] [64] One of the proteins that triggers allergic reactions is tropomyosin. [65] These allergens are also linked with asthma. [66]

Control

Many remedies have been tried in the search for control of the major pest species of cockroaches, which are resilient and fast-breeding. Household chemicals like sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) have been suggested, without evidence for their effectiveness. [67] Garden herbs including bay, catnip, mint, cucumber, and garlic have been proposed as repellents. [68] Poisoned bait containing hydramethylnon or fipronil, and boric acid powder is effective on adults. [69] Baits with egg killers are also quite effective at reducing the cockroach population. Alternatively, insecticides containing deltamethrin or pyrethrin are very effective. [69] In Singapore and Malaysia, taxi drivers use pandan leaves to repel cockroaches in their vehicles. [70]

Few parasites and predators are effective for biological control of cockroaches. Parasitoidal wasps such as Ampulex wasps sting nerve ganglia in the cockroach’s thorax, temporarily paralyzing the victim, allowing the wasp to deliver a second sting into the cockroach’s brain. The wasp clips the antennae with its mandibles and drinks some hemolymph before dragging the prey to a burrow, where an egg is laid on it. The wasp larva feeds on the subdued living cockroach. [71]

Cockroaches can be trapped in a deep, smooth-walled jar baited with food inside, placed so that cockroaches can reach the opening, for example with a ramp of card or twigs on the outside. An inch or so of water or stale beer (by itself a cockroach attractant) in the jar can be used to drown any insects thus captured. The method works well with the American cockroach, but less so with the German cockroach. [72]

Conservation

While a small minority of cockroaches are associated with human habitats and viewed as repugnant by many people, a few species are of conservation concern. The Lord Howe Island wood-feeding cockroach (Panesthia lata) is listed as endangered by the New South Wales Scientific Committee, but the cockroach may be extinct on Lord Howe Island itself. The introduction of rats, the spread of Rhodes grass (Chloris gayana) and fires are possible reasons for their scarcity. [73] Two species are currently listed as endangered and critically endangered by the IUCN Red List, Delosia ornata and Nocticola gerlachi. [74] [75] Both cockroaches have a restricted distribution and are threatened by habitat loss and rising sea levels. Only 600 Delosia ornata adults and 300 nymphs are known to exist, and these are threatened by a hotel development. No action has been taken to save the two cockroach species, but protecting their natural habitats may prevent their extinction. In the former Soviet Union, cockroach populations have been declining at an alarming rate; this may be exaggerated, or the phenomenon may be temporary or cyclic. [76]

In culture

Cockroaches were known and considered repellent but useful in medicines in Classical times. An insect named in Greek «σίλφη» («Silphe») has been identified with the cockroach. It is mentioned by Aristotle, saying that it sheds its skin; it is described as foul-smelling in Aristophanes’ play Peace; Euenus called it a pest of book collections, being «page-eating, destructive, black-bodied» in his Analect. Virgil named the cockroach «Lucifuga» («one that avoids light»). Pliny the Elder recorded the use of «Blatta» in various medicines; he describes the insect as disgusting, and as seeking out dark corners to avoid the light. [77] [78] Dioscorides recorded the use of the «Silphe», ground up with oil, as a remedy for earache. [78]

Lafcadio Hearn (1850–1904) asserted that «For tetanus cockroach tea is given. I do not know how many cockroaches go to make up the cup; but I find that faith in this remedy is strong among many of the American population of New Orleans. A poultice of boiled cockroaches is placed over the wound.» He adds that cockroaches are eaten, fried with garlic, for indigestion. [79]

Several cockroach species, such as Blaptica dubia, are raised as food for insectivorous pets. [80] A few cockroach species are raised as pets, most commonly the giant Madagascar hissing cockroach, Gromphadorhina portentosa. [81]

Cockroaches have been used for space tests. A cockroach given the name Nadezhda was sent into space by Russian scientists during Foton-M test, becoming the first terrestrial animal to «give birth» in space. [82]

Because of their long association with humans, cockroaches are frequently referred to in popular culture. In Western culture, cockroaches are often depicted as dirty pests. [83] [84] In a 1750–1752 journal, Peter Osbeck noted that cockroaches were frequently seen and found their way to the bakeries, after the sailing ship Gothenburg ran aground and was destroyed by rocks. [85]

Donald Harington’s satirical novel The Cockroaches of Stay More (Harcourt, 1989) imagines a community of «roosterroaches» in a mythical Ozark town where the insects are named after their human counterparts. Madonna has famously quoted, «I am a survivor. I am like a cockroach, you just can’t get rid of me.» [86] An urban legend maintains that cockroaches are immortal. [87]

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