Cockroaches! Eew! We really hate those filthy insects, don’t we? Damn! They are so disgusting and of course, responsible for spreading diseases. We just hate them! However, we barely know enough about these filthy little insects which often end up infesting our homes. So, in this article on cockroach facts, let us learn 30 interesting facts about cockroaches. We are darn sure that your jaws will drop!
Scientific name: Blattaria
Mind Blowing Cockroach Facts: 1-5
1. There are around 4,600 species of cockroaches. But fortunately, only 30 species share the human habitat. Out of 30 only four of them are quite famous as pests.
2. Cockroaches are highly adaptive and that is the reason why they have been living on this earth way older than us, in fact older than dinosaurs too! If new studies were to be believed, then they evolved 359 million years ago, in Carboniferous period.
3. Are you scared of cockroaches which are of roughly 1 to 2 inches? Then you better don’t see other species of cockroach because they can be as big as 3 inches. The largest cockroach is Megaloblatta longipennis which measures “just” 3.8 inches with 8-inch wingspan. It is found in Central and South America.
4. Another reason why they are so adaptable – they can survive on anything. They can eat debris, fruits, meat, other insects, our food, the list just goes on… they can eat anything just to make sure they live.
5. They are cold blooded animals. This means that they can maintain a low rate of metabolism and hence, can survive without food even for a month. But they can’t stay thirsty. Most cockroaches die of thirst and in general cockroaches can stay without water for a maximum period of about 2 weeks.
Mind Blowing Cockroach Facts: 6-10
6. Guess what? They can live for around a week without their heads. But they can hold their breath for about 40 minutes and they can remain in water for a nice 30 minutes.
7. How do the cockroaches survive without head? After the head of a cockroach is cut off, clotting will seal off the neck and prevent blood loss. The brain of a cockroach is not responsible for breathing and neither is the blood responsible for carrying oxygen throughout the body.
8. The cockroaches have something called spiracles. These are little holes in their bodies which are present in almost every segment of the body. The spiracle pipes are responsible for sending air directly to the tissues using tubes which are known as the tracheae.
9. In addition to that, they have ganglia clumps that are present within each segment of the body. These ganglia clumps are nothing but agglomerations of nerve tissues, which are very much capable of performing the basic nervous functions which control the reflexes.
10. So, a cockroach can survive decapitation. However, it will eventually die off because of thirst and hunger (thirst will kill it first because they can’t stay thirsty for a very long time).
Mind Blowing Cockroach Facts: 11-20
11. These little creepy animals are fast runners by birth. Yes, not just the adults but the ones which are born run 3 miles per hour. Their hind limbs can move 27 times per second when they are running and just not that the spines on their legs allow them to maintain their speed on the walls without slipping.
12. The most common types of cockroaches are German cockroach, American cockroach, Australian cockroach and Oriental cockroach.
13. It takes just 123 days for a baby German cockroach to grow into an adult.
14. An American cockroach is attracted to alcohol! They are mostly attracted to the alcohol which has hops and sugar in it. They love beer! Now these tiny creatures are after what we love too.
15. Though most of us hate that 6-legged creepy insect, there are people who love eating cockroaches! In China, they are roasted or deep fried and are sold on sticks (like kebabs) on the streets. There are other tribes as well who eat cockroaches. Though they are considered healthy, doctors warn against this practice of including cockroaches in diet.
Mind Blowing Cockroach Facts: 16-20
16. If there is anything which cockroaches can’t take is the cold. Yes, as mentioned they are cold blooded animals so their temperature depends on the temperature of the surroundings. If the surroundings are too cold, then there are less chances for a cockroach to survive. But there is one species of cockroach called Japanese cockroach (Periplaneta japonica) which can survive a whopping -8 degrees Celsius. It hibernates. Even if it freezes it can unfreeze itself when the temperature return to normal. They are the only ones to walk on ice.
17. Did you know there is something called leaproach? No, it is not a hybrid but it is a new species of cockroach which was found in the Table Mountain in South Africa in 2009. Why did they name it as leaproach then? It is because this cockroach jumps. Feel lucky that these hopping cockroaches are not in your home. Its scientific name is Saltoblatella montistabularis.
18. Cockroaches are thigmotropic i.e., they like to be touched on all sides! They like to be in contact with something solid from all sides of the body. Now did you understand why cockroaches are in love with those crevices of your home?
19. Just like dogs, cockroaches can be conditioned. Makoto Mizunami and his colleague Hidehiro Wantanabe of Tohoku University found that cockroaches can be conditioned just like dogs. Before a nice sugary treat, cockroaches were introduced to vanilla or peppermint scent. After few days, cockroaches drooled by smelling the scent.
20. It is a myth that cockroaches survive nuclear explosion. But they can bear more radiation than us. While an average human can tolerate 800 rems (unit of radiation dose), the cockroaches can tolerate up to 10,500 rems.
Mind Blowing Cockroach Facts: 21-25
21. Cockroaches are not early birds! They can’t remember things and cannot even learn new memories during the mornings. Researchers tested this by trying to teach them to genuinely prefer bad odor. While they succeeded when they were taught during midday or night or during sunset time but roaches failed miserably when they were taught during the daylights.
22. Did you know that even cockroaches fart? They fart around 35 gm of methane a year which is 43 times heavier than themselves!
23. There are higher chances that you had eaten a cockroach or at least parts of it in your lifetime. We say this because even the delicious chocolate bar, cheese, peanut butter, popcorn etc. will have portions of this insect and we relish eating them!
24. There is one variety of cockroach – the Madagascar hissing cockroach, which speaks with the help of its air passageways. These passageways work more or less like the vocal cords of humans.
25. Cockroaches are social animals. Though you would not see them moving in groups but they do sometimes select a place where many roaches hang out together. German cockroaches secrete aggregation pheromone which attracts other roaches.
Mind Blowing Cockroach Facts: 26-30
26. They are always blamed for spreading diseases and doing harm to humans but they do good work for earth. They help in decomposing the debris thereby help bringing the much-needed nutrients back to the soil. They also serve as food for other small animals like lizards, birds and in this way, keep the food chain in good shape.
27. Cockroaches helped our ancestors. How, you ask? The tiny creatures used to feed on the bat’s dung from cave’s walls and ceilings and made the caves neat where humans could dwell.
28. There is one cockroach everyone would be amused to see. That is Luchihormetica luckae. The specialty of this cockroach is that it glows! It is bioluminescent and it is toxic and looks similar to a bioluminescent click beetle (markings on the body). The bioluminescence property is used as a defensive mechanism by the cockroach which is very rare in the animal world.
29. Scientists are now trying (even succeeded a little) to turn cockroaches into cyborgs. They are gluing receiver on to the cockroach’s back and inserting electrodes in the insect’s antennae. This way they are able to control its movements.
30. China is not famous for eating cockroaches alone but equally famous for its cockroach farms. They rear cockroaches and guess what? It is a booming industry there now and it has helped improving the economy of the country as well!