Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Disgustingly Amazing Cockroaches!

Cockroaches: A cockroach is similar to other bugs in the way its body is made. The body has three parts-(head, thorax, and abdomen) and each cockroach has three joints on each leg, so roaches have 18 knees! The roach skeleton is made of a hard substance called chitin, and is on the outside of the body, called an Exoskeleton. Because chitin is hard, it cannot grow, so the roach has to shed its exoskeleton several time per year, and then the roach grows quickly before another skeleton forms. After being shed, the skin of the roach appears very light, then it becomes dark again.

Cockroach Wings, when present, overlap one another and lay flat over the back, but the tips of the hind pair do not fold. There is a yellowish stripe along the front margin of each fore wing. Males usually have two sets of wings. Females either lack wings or have wings that are too small for flying. There are important sensory organs called cerci on the rear-most segment of the body (thorax).
At first sight, all roaches appear the same, but when examined more closely, they have disgustingly different characteristics.

Different Species Of Cockroach

The Oriental cockroach has an unusual scallop shape which comes from the way the rear, side corners of its abdomen point outward like edges of a scallop shell. It can be confused with American and Turkistan cockroaches because of its general appearance. However, a closer look will reveal distinguishing cream-colored markings behind the head and around the wings.

The German cockroach looks shiny and is generally brown or light brown in color. It has long slender legs, long, thin antennae, and wings.

The Field cockroach is a species that is often confused with the German cockroach. It is olive in color with a black stripe between the eyes.

The Madagascar hisser is one of the largest species of cockroach, reaching two to three inches in length when mature. Unlike most cockroach species, it is wingless.

The American cockroach was introduced to the United States from Africa as early as 1625. It has spread throughout the world by commerce. It prefers sewers, water meter boxes, and storm drains. It is at home in steam tunnels of large buildings like hospitals and places where animals are raised.

A bush cockroach
An American Cockroach

Where Do They Live?

Most cockroaches live in warm, moist, tropical regions of the world, such as Florida and Mexico. Only a few species live close to people where they can find food easily. They often hide in dark corners of kitchens or near the stove where food gets spilled.

The majority of cockroach species have lived in the same places for a very long time, far away from people. An example is the Common wood cockroach, the country cousin of the city-dwelling pest cockroaches. It lives in the damp forests of South Africa, in areas where it can hide under logs and stones. It likes moist conditions. Another example is the Giant Cave cockroach from the rain forests of Central America and the Caribbean. It likes to live in caves with bats. Its young burrow into the bat droppings. The species lives outside caves too, where it shelters in hollow logs and trees.



  1. Cool, you put a lot of work into this post.
    Do you know what species we have here in NZ? I think it's probably just a common old Cockroach.
    You seem to have quite a few dots from America on your Clustrmap...

  2. I've seen real American cockroaches at the Auckland Zoo kid's corner!

  3. Great work - try to always place a reference to where you got your information.