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Astounding Facts About Cockroaches

Sonia Nair
Though they are common household pests, cockroaches are insects with some amazing features. Here is some interesting facts about cockroaches.
It is believed that, roaches evolved on the Earth, millions of years ago. According to archaeological evidence, earliest fossils that resemble cockroaches, belonged to a period that existed before 350 to 400 million years. So these insects have been thriving on the Earth, surviving all adverse conditions, since time immemorial.
It is also suggested that, these insects may survive nuclear blasts. Though it is not proven, studies show that, cockroaches have a higher radiation resistance, as compared to humans.
Roaches belong to the order Blattaria  in class Insecta. There are more than 4000 species and among them, around 30 species dwell in areas with human habitation. These insects are among the common household pests; but only four among the 4000 species are categorized as major pests.

Interesting Facts about Cockroaches

Roaches have flat and broad bodies. They have small heads with underlying mouth parts. These insects have two eyes, two antennae and six legs. While some of them have two pairs of wings, some others have a single pair or no wings at all.
In most of the species, the exoskeleton is either black or brown. However, some of the tropical species have a shiny exoskeleton that is red, green or yellow in color.
Sometimes, you may come across a cockroach that looks like an albino. When they shed their exoskeleton, these insects have whitish bodies and black eyes. Such shedding happens many times a year. However, they develop a dark body color within eight to ten hours of shedding.
Roaches have white blood that flows freely. In other words, they don't have blood vessels meant for carrying the blood. Even the heart of this insect is like a simple tube that pumps blood to both anterior and posterior parts of the body.
Cockroaches have different sensory organs. While antennae help them in finding food, sensing smell and for finding their way; the sensory organs on the body enable them to sense touch.
They have compound eyes that help them to detect motion. Each eye has more than 2000 lenses that help these insects to see in all directions. These insects can see more than one object at the same time.
The claws on the legs of roaches help them in movements. Even the hair on the legs aid them in sensing touch.
You might have heard that a cockroach can survive without its head. It is partly true, as the brain is not in its head, but is spread throughout the body. Only a small blood clot occurs due to severing the head of this insect.
However, it may die within ten days, due to lack of water, as it lacks mouth parts for drinking.
Most of these insects are nocturnal and flee from light, except the Asian ones. These insects like damp and warm locations, while some of the tropical species try to stay in hot places. They may also leave behind an offensive odor.
As roaches carry microbes on their bodies, they may transmit diseases. Presence of cockroaches may trigger allergic reactions in some people. So their infestation must be prevented and controlled.
It is believed that, these insects rest a lot. Roaches keep their antennae in upward direction, maintaining an angle of 60 degrees between each other.
While some people consume roaches in different ways, these insects are also used in folk remedies. Cockroach tea is used for treating dropsy, whereas, those fried with garlic are used for curing indigestion. In some regions, oriental species are used in dried and powdered form, for problems relating to the urinary tract.
Cockroaches have a few records of their own. They can survive for more than a month without food. They can hold their breath for more than 40 minutes at a stretch. They may also run a distance of more than three miles in 60 minutes. These insects can also swim.
One type of common household cockroach is the American cockroach. It is the largest among the roach species that infest households. While most of them are omnivores, there are some wood-eating species that feed on wood. Others feed on anything and everything ranging from leftover food, paper, glue, clothes, paint, leather products, soap, wood, and feces.
You may feel that, cockroaches do not make sounds. This is not true. While the Madagascar hissing cockroach is famous for its hissing sound, some other species produce chirping noises. Hissing cockroaches, one of the largest species of roaches, are also raised as pets. The Australian giant burrowing cockroach is the heaviest and the largest one in the world.
Hope you find these cockroach facts interesting and amazing. There are numerous other facts about these insects; and you may conduct an in-depth study, if you are very keen about knowing more about these insects.