We’ve been a bit doom and gloom on the blog this week. Earthquakes. Population bombs. I promise to lighten things up soon. But before I do that, let’s celebrate Wildlife Wednesday with a profile of a creature likely to survive any catastrophe nature throws at it: the cockroach.

  • Famed for their hardiness, cockroaches can survive for long periods without food or air. They can weather cold temperatures and have even been documented as surviving decapitation.
  • The bugs can withstand radiation better than humans, a trait explained by their cell cycle. Cells are vulnerable to radiation when dividing, and since a cockroach’s cells divide only when it molts, many cockroach populations would be unaffected by acute bursts of radiation.
  • While species like the German cockroach (Blattella germanica) are pests and generally unattractive to humans, not all cockroaches are ugly. Some species, like the above pictured bush cockroach (Ellipsidion australe) are quite beautiful.
  • Some species of cockroaches are parthenogenetic, which means they can reproduce without the need for males.
  • The bugs are one of the most common household pests, leaving offensive odors and feeding on human and pet food. They can also act as a potential vector for disease.
  • Baking soda kills cockroaches by causing their internal organs to burst due to gas collection. Ouch.

(Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons / Source: Wikimedia Commons, University of Florida and the American Mosquito Control Association)