They are smarter than us...I swear.
(in fact, they should be, since they've been around since the first dinosaurs and have survived every worldwide catostrophe since then, and all they while have been evolving at a very rapid speed)
Cockroaches and "The Bomb"
You've probably heard the story about cockroaches surviving a nuclear war: we die but they live! This is supposed to make you feel better when you have trouble getting rid of these critters.
So, the real truth: radiologists have found that humans can safely withstand a one-time exposure of 5 rems (A "rem" is the dosage of radiation that will cause a specific, measured amount of injury to human tissue). A lethal dose is 800 rems or more (people are exposed to about 16 rems during their lifetime).
Insect researchers have found that cockroaches can tolerate a much higher dose -- really higher! The lethal dose for the American cockroach is 67,500 rems and for the German cockroach it is between 90,000 and 105,000 rems (yikes!). In truth the amount of radiation that cockroaches can withstand is equivalent to that of a thermonuclear explosion. So, show a little respect the next time your chasing one through the kitchen with a spray can in your hand!
Reprinted from the Urban Pest Control Research Center Newsletter, April 8, 1996. By Bill Robinson, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Department of Entomology
a cockroach could live a long time, perhaps a month, without its head.
The world's largest roach (which lives in South America) is six inches long with a one-foot wingspan.
Roaches By the Numbers
6 -- Number of legs on a cockroach
18 -- Number of knees on most cockroaches (at least!)
40-- Number of minutes cockroaches can hold their breath
75 -- Percentage of time that cockroaches spend just resting (how lazy can you get?)
Some female cockroaches mate once and are pregnant for the rest of their lives (bummer).
Better Check Those Cracks in the Wall
Young cockroaches need only a crack as thin as a dime (about .5mm wide) to crawl into. Adult males can squeeze into a space of 1.6mm or the thickness of a quarter.
Cockroaches can run up to three miles in an hour. (Hey, it's no marathon, but it's not bad.)
Male cockroaches transfer sperm to females in a "gift-wrapped" package called a spermatophore. Some males cover the package in a protein-rich wrapping that the female can eat to obtain nutrients to raise her young. Delicious!
The Blattodea or Cockroaches
In the introduction to his book "The Cockroach Vol.1" P.B.Cornwell's opening sentence is . "The Cockroach is probably the most obnoxious insect known to man."
This is obviously the statement of a man who has spent too much time studying those few species of Blattodea which have so much in common with mankind that they have chosen to live with us.
There are nearly 4,000 species of Cockroaches (Dictyoptera, Blattodea) in the world, of which only 25 to 30 (or less than 1%) have any pest status, the rest are innocent members of the Earth's fauna, some of which are clean living, non-aggressive and slow moving, and as such make great pets. The largest known Cockroaches in the world are (largest wingspan up to 18 cm) Megaloblatta longipennis, largest body, Macropanesthia rhinocerus from Australia weighing in at up to 50 grams. The smallest known is Attaphilla fungicola which lives in the nests of Leaf Cutter ants of the genus Atta in North America and feeds on the fungus they farm, it is about 4 mm long
Gordon's Blattodea Page
Cockroaches (Periplaneta americana) can really move. They can run at speeds of nearly 3km/hr (0.8 m/s). They can make up to 25 body turns in a second - the highest known rate in the animal kingdom. And, being nocturnal, they do most of this in the dark. So why don't they crash into things?
The answer is: their antennae
. In a series of cockroach-assault course experiments J Camhi and E Johnson of The Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel have found that these much-loathed insects boast highly flexible and seriously sensitive antennae one and a third times the length of their bodies and segmented into between 150 and 170 jointed sections.
Camhi and Johnson set cockroaches (whose antenna and other sensory organs they disabled in various ways) the task of negotiating their way around a circular arena with either straight or pleated sides. As the duo report in The Journal of Experimental Biology, their slightly macabre manipulations revealed that the insects navigated the space by staying close to the wall at a strikingly fixed distance and dragging their antenna along it as they went.
At walking speed intact cockroaches simply tapped their antennae on the arena wall, but the faster an insect moved the more time the two stayed in contact. When the researches experimented with simple antenna amputations, they found that the shorter an insect's antenna, the closer it walked to the wall at all running speeds, apparently using sensory input from other body parts, such as its legs, to glean information about its position relative to possible obstacles. And experiments with the pleat-sided arena showed that cockroaches can respond remarkably quickly - after around 29 milliseconds - to the sensory cues that their antennae deliver.
Furthermore the researchers found that blinded and deafened cockroaches were able to navigate completely normally
, even if their average speeds were lower than their sighted and air-current-sensitive counterparts.