Cockroaches have been a problem for humans for thousands of years, and many of us are all too familiar with at least one of the roughly 30 cockroach species that can live in our environments. However, scientists have identified over 4,000 extant cockroach species, preserving a startlingly complex ancestry that may predate dinosaurs.
Pest cockroaches account for fewer than 1% of all cockroach species, and while our repulsion is understandable, they are also less monolithic and horrific than we believe. We might even be able to learn something beneficial from them in some circumstances.
1. German Cockroach (Blattella germanica)
The German cockroach is a social insect, but unlike certain ant and bee royal colonies, it forms looser, more egalitarian coalitions with democratic leanings. Rather than serving to a queen, all adults can procreate and participate in collective choices. Unfortunately, German cockroaches are quickly developing resistance to a variety of insecticides. Some of them have developed an aversion to the glucose included in poisoned sugar baits.
Despite its name, it may have developed in Asia, but it is now found globally in conjunction with people and may be the most common of all nuisance cockroaches. It is omnivorous and breeds continually, with multiple overlapping generations typically coexisting, and it may complete its full life cycle in roughly 100 days.
2. American Cockroach (Periplaneta americana)
The American cockroach is peridomestic, which means it lives both indoors and outdoors. Dark, damp areas next to houses, such as cellars and sewers, as well as garbage cans and woodpiles, are popular habitats. It’s a frequent nuisance at restaurants and grocery shops, but not so much in households.
Cockroach behavior research reveals that these roaches have distinct personalities, and their speed, agility, and resilience might inspire better rescue robots. It’s also one of the fastest land animals relative to its size, capable of running 50 body lengths per second.
3. Australian Cockroach (Periplaneta australasiae)
Australian cockroach is assumed to have developed in Africa before spreading internationally with human assistance in recent centuries. It has infiltrated Australia, but it is also common in portions of the Southeastern United States, as well as tropical and subtropical locations across the world.
They usually dwell outside, in places like tree bark and woodpiles, as well as porches and greenhouses. Indoors, they may seek sanctuary in water pipes, sinks, toilets, and other areas with adequate heat, moisture, and darkness.
4. Madagascar Hissing Cockroach (Gromphadorhina portentosa)
The Madagascar hissing cockroach (Gromphadorhina portentosa) is a big, wingless cockroach found in tropical lowland rainforests in Madagascar. It may grow to be 3 inches long and 1 inch broad, and it is notable for making a hissing sound with breathing spiracles on its belly.
This species is popular as a pet and may be found in a number of zoos and aquariums. Like many other cockroaches, it’s also a detritivore that plays an important part in the nutrient-cycling process of its native forests.
5. Death’s Head Cockroach (Blaberus craniifer)
The Death’s Head cockroach is the biggest cockroach in North America, reaching lengths of up to 3 inches. It gets its name from a striking face-like pattern on the pronotum (a dorsal plate on the upper thorax) that looks like a black skull with reddish characteristics on an amber background.
The species is native to Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean, but it has just been imported to Florida. In the wild, Death’s head cockroaches feed on leaf litter and other organic material on forest floors. Although they are not typical home pests, some people keep them as pets.
6. Brazilian Cockroach (Blaberus giganteus)
The Brazilian cockroach is one of the world’s largest cockroaches, with males reaching lengths of up to 3.0 inches and females reaching lengths of 3.9 inches. These cockroaches have flattened bodies and are weakly constructed, allowing them to hide in crevices from predators. They have brown bodies with black patterns.
This species is found in the rainforests of Central America and northern South America. Habitat preferences include caverns, tree hollows, and rock fissures with high moisture and minimal light. The Brazilian cockroach is a nocturnal omnivore and scavenger that feeds mostly on decaying plant debris.
7. Haitian Cockroach (Blaberus discoidalis)
Because of its superficial similarity to the death’s head cockroach, the Haitian cockroach is known as the . The adult is 1.4 to 1.8 inches long, tan, and has a dark brown to black patch on its pronotum. They are moving somewhat inefficiently, squandering mobility while they do so. It can move around 25 of its body lengths per second, which is roughly half the speed of a American Cockroach.
They are relatively easy to keep in captivity and offer excellent food for insectivorous pets like tarantulas, bearded dragons, and other reptiles. In captivity, these creatures reproduce easily.
8. Cape Mountain Cockroach (Aptera fusca)
The Cape Mountain cockroach, sometimes known as the Table Mountain cockroach, is a big, non-pest species native to South Africa’s Western and Eastern Cape provinces’ fynbos biomes. They are ovoviviparous, which means their eggs develop and hatch inside the mother, who then gives birth to live offspring, rather than laying eggs like other insects.
9. Giant Burrowing Cockroach (Macropanesthia rhinoceros)
Giant Burrowing cockroaches or Queensland Giant are endemic to Australia and may be found mostly in tropical and subtropical areas of Queensland. They are the world’s heaviest cockroach species, weighing up to 30-35 grams and measuring up to 3.1 inches in length. It is common in the wild and may also be purchased and maintained as a pet.
These cockroaches are endemic to Australia and may be found mostly in tropical and subtropical areas of Queensland. They are the world’s heaviest cockroach species, weighing up to 30-35 grams and measuring up to 3.1 inches in length. It is common in the wild and may also be purchased and maintained as a pet.
10. Brown-Hooded Cockroach (Cryptocercus punctulatus)
The brown-hooded cockroach is a North American woodland dweller with different populations in the Appalachians and the Pacific Northwest. According to the University of Virginia Mountain Lake Biological Station, it is the only wingless species in its region and is “impossible to confuse” with another species.
Brown-hooded cockroaches are more closely related to termites than other roaches and may give insights on the evolution of termite nesting behavior. A married pair will spend three years or more rearing a single brood of nymphs that can consume decaying wood due to cellulose-digesting microorganisms handed down from their parents.
Visit Our Instagram Page for daily fun facts!