Blattodea

Lucihormetica luckae

…is a unique species of “giant cockroach” (Blabridae) which has been collected around the Tungurahua volcano in Ecuador. Lucihormetica luckae is noted among cockroaches for its ability to bioluminesce via two spots on its back carapace which are inhabited by bioluminescent bacteria. It is though that this ability evolved to mimic the appearance of the toxic click beetles of the genus Pyrophorus. It is also though that L. luckae might be the first known species to use bioluminescence as a form of defensive mimicry.    

Classification

Animalia-Arthropoda-Insecta-Blattodea-Blaberidae-Blaverinae-Lucihormetica-L. luckae

Image: Peter Vršanský and Dušan Chorvát

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Hey look, it’s Euzosteria subverrucosa, one of my favorite native roaches. I’ve only seen them twice before, in Piara Waters, in Banksia scrub, and in Hammond Park, near Casuarina scrub. This one was in dunes at Secret Harbour. Isn’t she a cutie.

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Order Blattodea- Cockroaches

Cockroaches are possibly the most despised of all insects. Just hearing the word disgusts most people, but the truth is out of the thousands of known species only four are common pests. These are the American, German, Oriental, and Asian Cockroaches. 

Despite what most people think I find cockroaches to be fascinating and intriguing insects. They have adapted to almost every habitat on Earth. While most people are only familiar with the fairly unassuming brown pest species there are many bright, colorful, and beautifully patterned species. Many people even keep cockroaches as pets, Madagascar Hissing Roaches being the most common.

Cockroaches are part of the superorder Dictyoptera with their close relatives the mantids and termites. The similarities between roaches and mantids can be seen in the triangular heads and laying of oothecas. Recent DNA testing has led some people to consider termites to be part of the order Blattodea with the cockroaches because of the very close similarities with wood-eating roaches in the Cryptocercus genus.

Cape Mountain Cockroach (Aptera fusca)

Also known as the Table Mountain Cockroach or the Giant Cockroach, the Cape Mountain Cockroach is a species of blaberid cockroach that is native to the Fynbos biome of the Western Cape region of South Africa. True to one of its common names A. fusca is quite large with adult females growing to around 30-40 mm (1.2-1.6 in) long, and males growing to around 29 mm (1.1 in) long. Cape mountain cockroaches are typically active at night and are herbivores. Unusually A. ptera gives birth to 18-25 live offspring and will protect their young for a while after giving birth. 

Classification

Animalia-Arthropoda-Insecta-Blattodea-Blaberidae-Aptera-A. fusca

Image: Slashme

Bug of the Day

Does the interesting facial perspective on this cockroach I found on the side of my shed make it any less creepy and roachy? ;-)

I’m thinking this is probably a large wood roach, Parcoblatta sp., but I’m not too familiar with this insect order. Maybe those cool white marks by the eyes are diagnostic…

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Australian Cockroach “Sun Tiger” (Polyzosteria sp.) in Girraween National Park, Southern Downs, between Queensland and New South Wales, Australia

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Green Banana Cockroach (Panchlora nivea)

Also known as the Cuban cockroach, the green banana cockaroach is a colorful species of cockroach native to Cuba, The Caribbean and parts of the southern United States. Green banana cockroaches are usually found outdoors and inhabit shrubbery, trees and other plants. They are strong fliers and are mainly active at night, and are usually attracted to bright lights. Banana cockroaches are often kept as pets due to their unique green color.

Phylogeny

Animalia-Arthropoda-Insecta-Blattodea-Blaberidae-Panchlora-nivea

Image Source(s)

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Pale-bordered Cockroach (Pseudomops septentrionalis)

…a species of Ectobiid cockroach which occurs in south central and south eastern North America and Central America. Pale-bordered cockroaches are active mainly from May to August and typically inhabit low-growing herbaceous vegetation and will occasionally visit flowers. Adults will feed on sap and flowers, and interestingly are not attracted to lights. 

Classification

Animalia-Arthropoda-Insecta-Blattodea-Blaberoidea-Ectobiidae-Blattellinae-Pseudomops-P. septentrionalis

Images: ©Graham Montogomery and ©Gayle and Jeanell Strickland

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The Half-banded Shining Cockroach Drymaplaneta semivitta, a common species, native to South-eastern and South-western Australia, and accidentally introduced to New Zealand.

A harmless species that lives among mulch or sometimes inside walls, and frequently wanders into houses. This one was hiding inside the joint of a bookshelf I was dismantling. Isn’t he, or she, wonderfully shiny and flat.

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Catara rugosicollis

…is a species of cockroach that is distributed throughout Malaysia, Sumatra, Java and Borneo. Like many other species of cockroach C. rugosicollis is mainly terrestrial and is capable of releasing a foul smelling chemical when threatened

Classification

Animalia-Arthropoda-Insecta-Blattodea-Blattidae-Archiblattinae-Catara-C. rugosicollis

Images: Eduard Jendek and bernard DUPONT