20 Things You May Not Know About Cockroaches! (#12 is HILARIOUS)

In this article we reveal over 20 insane facts that you may not know about cockroaches!

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Cockroaches are commonly household insects belonging to the order Blattodea, which also include the termites. Cockroaches are an ancient group of insects, which were believed to have existed as far back as the Carboniferous age, that is about 320 million years ago. However, those early ancestors did not possess the internal ovipositors present in modern cockroaches. Cockroaches are generalized insects with no unique adaptations like those present in the aphids and other true bugs. They are a common and hardy insects that can tolerate a wide range of harsh environmental conditions, be it the Arctic cold to the heat of the tropics.
However, tropical cockroaches are often much larger in size than those found in the temperate regions and in contrast to the common belief, the extinct relatives of the modern cockroach such as the Carboniferous Archimylacris and the Apthoroblattina were not as big as the largest species of this modern era. Some cockroach species, such as the gregarious German cockroach have an elaborate social structure involving common shelter, social independence, transfer of information and relative’ recognition.
Cockroaches have existed in human lives since classical antiquity and are commonly believed to be dirty pests, although a great majority of the species are inoffensive and are inhabitants of an interestingly wide range of environments on the earth. Of all the species of cockroaches, only four are considered household cockroaches namely the German cockroach, American cockroach, Australian cockroach and Oriental cockroach.

Having known the above, here are some interesting facts about cockroaches.
1. There are around 4,600 species of cockroaches. However, only just thirty of those species share the human habitats. More so, only four of them are quite famous and considered human pests.

2. Cockroaches are very adaptive and this has backed the evidence of their existence on earth even more than humans, in actual fact, more than the super ancient dinosaurs. According to recent studies, cockroaches have evolved 359 million years ago.

3. Cockroaches are of interestingly large sizes. So if you are frightened at the sight of cockroaches with approximately 1 to 2 inches, wait till you see other species of cockroach that can be as large as 3 inches. The largest cockroach ever known is the Megaloblatta longipennis that is as big as 3.8 inches with a wingspan of 8.0 inches. This species is located in the Central and Southern American countries. Although, the giant Central American cave cockroach can grow to the same length, it has a shorter wingspan, about 5 to 6 inches. Meanwhile, the heaviest cockroach is the giant burrowing Australian cockroach that can weigh over an ounce, it also carries the title of the longest-lived cockroach with a proposed life span of ten years!

4. Cockroaches are so adaptable that they can survive on virtually anything and everything. This has been backed by their feeding habit as they can feed on debris, fruits, meats, other insects, human foods, wood, paper and so on. In order to ensure they live, they eat whatever comes their way.
5. Cockroaches are cold blooded animals meaning that they can maintain a very low rate of metabolism and thus, can survive without eating anything for as long as a month. However, they can live without having a taste of water for such long period of days. On a general note, cockroaches can stay without water for a maximum days of around 14 days, but they die of thirst if this period is prolonged.

6. Amongst all nations of the world, China are highly famous for having large farms for rearing cockroaches. More so, they are the largest cockroach consuming population. They rear cockroaches and it has been one of the booming industries in the country and has helped improve their economy to some extent.

7. There is a species of cockroaches that is bioluminescent, that is, it glows. Besides, the beauty of this glowing property, it is very toxic and is similar to the bioluminescent click beetle. It is believed that the bioluminescence property is a defensive mechanism by this species to ward off preys and is very rare in the animal world. This species is known as Luchihormetica luckae.

8. Another weird facts about cockroaches is that they once helped the human ancestors. These creatures usually fed on the dungs of bats from the walls of caves and ceilings, thereby making the caves so neat for inhabitation by humans.

9. Oftentimes, cockroaches have been implicated for spreading diseases and posing a challenge to human health, however they are of much more significance to the earth. One of which is that, cockroaches aid decomposition of debris, thus help in restoring important nutrients back to the soil. Their importance in the food chain cannot be overemphasized, this is because they serve as food for other animals such as lizards, frogs, birds, snakes, and as such they keep the food chain in a good shape. Besides, as earlier mentioned, cockroaches serve as food to the human population especially in China.

10. Cockroaches are highly social animals. One might not be seeing them moving in groups like some other insects, however they oftentimes select a place where many of them would spend time together, this may be for the purpose of recreation, reproduction, transfer of information, or even recognition of kin as exhibited by the German cockroaches. This act by the German cockroaches is enabled by their secretion of aggregation pheromones that attracts other cockroaches, hence helping them to gather at the point of secretion of this substance.

11. Have you heard of the Madagascar cockroach? This species of cockroach has passageways that works in a similar manner as the human vocal cords. This cockroach is often termed ‘the hissing cockroach” as a result of a voice sound it makes and this is attributed to its air passageways. More interestingly, is that it makes different hissing sounds for different purposes; it has a mating hiss, a courting hiss, an alarm hiss and also a combat hiss especially when it senses a prey or other challenging cockroaches.

12. Trust me, it is weird to know that cockroaches fart. Yes, cockroaches fart around 35 grams of methane every year, a weight 43 times heavier than their normal body weight. This methane released serve as waste products that may have accumulated as a result of their feeding on organic waste materials.

13. It is believed that the only living organisms that can survive a nuclear blast are the Twinkies and cockroaches. However, this is not true but it is fascinating to know that cockroaches can tolerate 10 times the radiation humans can tolerate; one of the reasons they have been touted “hard to kill”. Reports have shown that cockroaches were found in Hiroshima and Nagaski, where atomic bombs were dropped by the United States’ army and in Chernobyl, a place tagged to have witnessed the worst nuclear accident.

14. Cockroaches can survive being submerged under water for very prolonged period of time and can withstand temperatures as low as 32 degrees Farenheit too. So if you think flushing them down the toilet will kill a cockroach, you may get the surprise of your life, as cockroaches are experts in holding their breath and this is made possible through the spiracles-a hole in their body. Thus, when cockroaches are submerged, they shut their spiracles for about forty minutes, thereby giving them ample time to crawl to a safe place.

15. Cockroaches can be found almost anywhere on the earth. Although a majority of them live in forests, whether underground, crawling around the forest floors or in the trees, some live in caves, fields, swamps and grasslands. Notably, there is a certain species that has been reportedly located in the desert that absorbs water vapor using a distinctive mouth structures whenever water is scarce or absent.

16. This is one creepy fact about cockroaches. Cockroaches can survive even when they lose their heads, for up to a week. This however, is not because they do not possess brains, they have brains but not all their activities are controlled by it. More so, due to their open circulatory system, they can still live a week without their heads. This open circulatory system helps them to breathe through some tiny holes in each of their body segments, thus if the head is absent, no problem they can still go extra days. However, since they would not be able to drink, they eventually die of thirst.

17. Have you ever tried chasing a cockroach? If yes, then you would know for a fact that cockroaches are fast runners. They can run as fast as 3 miles per hour and due to their tiny structure, this is considered fast enough. Notably, their hind legs are specifically designed for speed as it can move 27 times per second whenever they are running fast. Interestingly, cockroaches move up walls by running faster than they do on floors and with the help of the spines on their legs, cockroaches adhere safely on slippery surfaces.

18. Cockroaches do not necessarily mate every breeding season. This is because the females can store the male semen and use it for the next few seasons and especially when there is plenty of food; a means of controlling their population and survival. However, in species of cockroach with shorter lifespans, the female cockroach can store sperm sufficient enough to last them throughout their lifetime. Meanwhile, some female cockroaches need to mate only once, afterward lay dozens of eggs in their egg cases (ootheca) and carry them around on their backs or dump them somewhere until they hatch.

19. It is interesting to know that some cockroaches are kept as pets although to a number of humans, cockroaches are hated pests. For instance, the Madagascar hissing cockroach and the true death’s head cockroach are fascinating pets due to the fat that they are odorless and require very little care. More so, as they eat almost anything, feeding them does not pose a challenge for having them as pests.

20. In 2009, the Saltoblattella monistabularis was discovered in South Africa, on the Table mountain, as a cockroach species that can actually jump, hence it was called the “Leaproach”. Similar to a grasshopper, this tiny creature can jump from grass to grass.

However, as fascinating and interesting these facts about cockroaches are, one must find way to control the spread of especially the domesticated ones which could spread diseases such as cholera, typhoid fever amongst others that pose significant health threat to animals and humans.

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