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Cockroach Facts – True or False?

By Chris Williams on November 27, 2015.

1. Only one in every 100,000 cockroaches is a white albino. False. Actually all cockroaches are white at several times during their lives. In order to grow, cockroach nymphs molt or shed their skin (cuticle) several times before they become adults. After each molt, the new cuticle is soft and white initially, and slowly darkens and hardens over a period of several hours. The reason that white cockroaches are rarely seen is that they hide during this period when they are most vulnerable.

2. Fortunately, none of our household cockroaches can fly. False. Most large tropical cockroaches found in southern regions can fly. In some cockroach species, the female is essentially wingless or has nonfunctional wings while the male has longer wings and can fly. Neither the male nor female of our most common household cockroach, the German cockroach, can fly. However, the males of both the large American cockroach and the small brownbanded cockroach can fly, and both are occasional pests in Massachusetts and New Hampshire homes.

3. Cockroach females can give live birth to their young when they are under stress. False. All baby cockroaches hatch from an egg case (ootheca) that holds about 36 embryos, in the case of the German cockroach. The German cockroach female, however, is the only roach that fully protects her egg case by carrying it with her until just before hatching. Other cockroaches deposit the newly formed egg case in a protected place and leave it to hatch, or be eaten.

4. Cockroaches can climb up smooth walls and can walk across ceilings upside down. True. The legs of cockroaches are made up of 5 tarsal segments and most species have a specialized suction cup-like pad, called an arolium, beneath each segment. These pads stick to surfaces and give the cockroach traction to climb vertically. A pair of claws at the end of the foot provide additional support. Some cockroaches have larger tarsal pads and so are able to climb better than species with less developed pads.

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