American cockroach

Taxobox
name = American cockroach



image_width = 200px
status = LR/lc
regnum = Animalia
phylum = Arthropoda
classis = Insecta
ordo = Blattaria
familia = Blattidae
genus = "Periplaneta"
species = "P. americana"
binomial = "Periplaneta americana"
binomial_authority = Linnaeus, 1758
The American cockroach ("Periplaneta americana") is a large species of winged cockroach. It is very common in the southern United States, and in tropical climates, and can be found in many locations throughout the world, due to its travels via shipping and commerce between locations. In the southern U.S., it is often called a Palmetto Bug or a Waterbug. Sightings have been reported in the northeast U.S., such as in New York City, southcentral Canada, such as in Toronto and southeast Canada, such as in Montreal, where it is mostly found near human habitations due to its lack of cold tolerance.Fact|date=May 2008 The American cockroach can also be found near various ports throughout the world, such as Cape Town and Durban, South Africa. They are the largest species of common cockroach.

The insect is believed to have originated in Africa, but had become established in the southern U.S. by the time that it was given its name.

The insect is often considered a pest since it invades living quarters for sanctuary and food.

Characteristics

American cockroach adults grow to an average length of around convert|4|cm|in. [Barbara, Kathryn A. (2008). American cockroach - "Periplaneta americana" (Linnaeus). Retrieved on 2008-07-10 from http://creatures.ifas.ufl.edu/urban/roaches/american_cockroach.htm.] They are reddish brown and have a yellowish margin on the body region behind the head. Immature cockroaches resemble adults except that they are wingless.

The insect can travel quickly, often darting out of sight when someone enters a room, and can fit into small cracks and under doors despite its fairly large size. It is considered one of the fastest running insects. [cite web
title=Chapter 39 — Fastest Runner
url=http://ufbir.ifas.ufl.edu/chap39.htm
author=Thomas M. Merritt
publisher=University of Florida
date=1999-07-31
work=Book of Insect Records
]

In an experiment carried out at the University of California at Berkeley (USA) in 1991, a "Periplaneta americana" registered a record speed of convert|5.4|km/h|mi/h, about 50 body lengths per second, which would be comparable to a human running at 330 km/h (205 mph). [Shukolyukov, S. A. (2001-09-27). Discovering The Achievements Of The American Cockroach. University Science News. Retrieved on 2008-07-10 from http://www.unisci.com/stories/20013/0927016.htm.] [cite web
title=Fastest Land Insect
url=http://www.4to40.com/recordbook/index.asp?id=41&category=animal
]

Habitat

American cockroaches generally live in moist areas, but can survive in dry areas if they have access to water. They prefer warm temperatures around convert|29|C|lk=on and do not tolerate cold temperatures. In residential areas, these cockroaches live in basements and sewers, and may move outdoors into yards during warm weather. These cockroaches are common in basements, crawl spaces, cracks and crevices of porches, foundations, and walkways adjacent to buildings. They feed on a wide variety of plant and animal material.

Life cycle

Females produce egg cases and carry them protruding from the tip of the abdomen for about two days. Egg cases are then generally placed on a surface in a hidden location. Egg cases are about convert|0.9|cm|in long, brown, and purse shaped. Immature cockroaches emerge from egg cases in 6 to 8 weeks and require 6 to 12 months to mature. Adult cockroaches can live up to one year, during which females produce an average of 150 young.

Control

Due to their large size and slow development, large infestations of these insects are not common within houses. However, during certain times of the year, these cockroaches may move inside a house from outside. In cold weather these cockroaches may move indoors, seeking warmer temperatures and food. Cockroaches may enter houses via sewer connections, under doors, around plumbing, air ducts, or other openings in the foundation. Cockroach populations may be controlled through the use of insecticides, removing the food supply, or by physically excluding them from unwanted areas.

See also

*Blattellidae - a list of other cockroach species

Gallery

References

External links

* [http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/2000/2096.html An Ohio State University Entomology article on the American Cockroach]
* [http://www.spidy.goliathus.com/english/gallery-cockroaches.php Gallery of cockroaches]
* [http://www.bugpeople.org/taxa/Blattodea/OrderBlattodeaPage.htm Order Blattodea, Exploring California Insects]
* [http://www.ext.vt.edu/departments/entomology/factsheets/amercock.html American Cockroach] — Virginia Cooperative Extension
* [http://creatures.ifas.ufl.edu/urban/roaches/ensign_wasp.htm American cockroach egg parasitoid] on the UF / IFAS Featured Creatures Web site


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