Also known as the Four-spotted Cockroach or Trinidad Bat-cave Cockroach, the six-spotted cockroach is a species of Blaberid cockroach that is native to Trinidad and Tobago, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, French Guiana, Suriname, Guyana, Brazil, and Peru. Six-spotted cockroaches typically are observed in relatively dry guano-rich areas in caves (thus the name “bat-cave”) but are also found in rotting logs, decaying litter and epiphytes. Like many other cockroach species, E. distanti is a scavenger feeding on any animal or vegetable matter readily available.
What do you know about cockroaches (not just the house kind)? Or maybe better yet, what should I know about cockroaches?
Well there are about 4000 species worldwide and they will someday rule this earth. Treat them well now because they’re only about 6 steps away from being our overlords and I’m only partially kidding!
I know you’ve heard about their ability to resist the affects of nuclear radiation. That’s actually something common to many arthropods! I think what people should talk more about is their ability to flatten themselves to near paper thinness to survive being crushed! Or their ability to recycle their urine indefinitely to avoid needing a steady source of water! Oh or how about the displacement of their nervous system that allows them to be able to survive weeks headless! (and yes that’s a scientifically tested fact, not some internet urban legend!)
There are about 70 species in the US, about 1/3 of which were introduced from other countries and as I’ve already stated that they are incredibly hardy. This is likely the reason why they’ve existed unchanged since the early Carboniferous period (Nearly 350 million years ago). There are 5 families. 3 that we are fairly used to: Blattelidae (German Cockroaches), Blattidae (American Cockroaches), and Blaberidae (Madagascan Hissing Cockroaches). And 2 that most people have never seen; the Cryptocercids (sort of like termites) and the Corydiids (sand roaches).
Cockroaches hold the record for being the fastest terrestrial insects! The hairs on their legs and cerci are attuned to low frequency sounds and even minute vibrations will activate the escape response that makes them so difficult to sneak up on.
Cockroaches are also the most common household allergen next to dust mites! About half of people with Asthma are allergic to cockroaches (and don’t realize it because their doctor isn’t an entomologist and never had to take an entomology course in Med School). Some people have allergic reactions that can lead to anaphylactic shock. Furthermore proteins that make up the allergens themselves are just as hardy as the cockroaches. They can persist through ultraviolet light, dramatic ph changes, and even boiling water remaining potent for decades.
Few people respect these creatures for the remarkable, noteworthy organisms that they are. I wish more people could acknowledge and respect that certain organisms can be interesting, admirable even, but at the same time unwelcome as guests in your home. They’re really cool but I choose not to hasten the day that they take over the world by providing them my leftovers and my kitchen as a place of harborage as they bide their time!
Also known as the Lobster Cockroach, the speckled cockroach is a species of Blaberid cockroach that originally was native to North-Eastern Africa but has been accidentally introduced to other places around the world. Like many insects female speckled cockroaches are capable of reproducing via parthenogenesis.