Everything we know about cockroaches is myths.


Is there a creature in the world more disgusting to a person and with a worse reputation than a cockroach? This immortal scavenger, spreading the infection and poisoning our lives, is so indestructible that he is the only one who will most likely survive in the post-apocalyptic world, and even radiation after a nuclear explosion will be nothing for him. So we think.

Is this insect guilty of all the mortal sins of which it is blamed, or is much of it no more than a myth?


Why do we not love them?

No one can make us love them and be considered pretty cute creatures. And yet it is necessary to understand such an interesting question, as the truth and the myths about cockroaches.

Most people know only the domestic species of these insects, which can appear from everywhere - from the kitchen sink, from the cracks, on the floor and in the cupboard with the dishes. This circumstance causes absolute disgust for uninvited guests. A person fights with them by all known means and suffers defeat after defeat. This is really the enemy of the human race.

But this relationship is formed purely on an emotional level. What is this creature really?


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The reality is

They exist absolutely everywhere around the globe: in tropical forests and deserts, not to mention regions with a mild, humid climate. Is that in Antarctica they are not, at least, nobody saw them there. Their abundance is observed in the tropics, at low altitudes with high temperatures. And there is such a species (Eupolyphaga everestiana) that feels great in extreme conditions, for example, on Mount Everest at an altitude of 5000 m above sea level. Need I say that this is a place of eternal glaciers?

In nature, there are 4, 800 species of cockroaches. Of these, no more than 30 have any harmful qualities. That is less than 1%. And these three dozens managed to cast a shadow on the reputation of thousands of completely harmless relatives.

You can draw an analogy with mammals. If the aversion to rats and mice, which is a tiny percentage of the class, is extended to the diversity of mammals, what will happen to us? However, the topic of our article is specific - cockroaches.


Big and small

This difference in habitats and living conditions, of course, implies a variety of species, forms and sizes of these insects.

If we talk about contrasts, then the smallest is the Texan antelope (Attaphila fungicola). This tiny, only a few millimeters, blind and wingless cockroach lives in North America in the nests of leaf-cutting ants. On the body of his masters, he can be transferred to another place of residence.


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In contrast to this kid, the giant cockroach Megaloblatta blaberoides boasts a colossal wingspan - over 18 cm. But this is not the largest copy yet. There is a giant digging cockroach originally from Queensland, Australia. This wingless creature has a length of about 8 cm and a weight of more than 30 grams. Imagine an insect that easily takes most of your palm - if, of course, you decide on such a feat! But this huge rhino is absolutely harmless, it eats only bark and fallen leaves.


The benefits of cockroaches

What are you talking about? What is the use of these vile creatures?

Nevertheless, they play their positive role as ecologists, feeding on decaying organic substances and thus making useful nutrients more accessible to other organisms.

And then, no matter how insulting to the ears of a civilized European, some types of cockroaches for many people on the globe are an exquisite snack. This largely explains why certain groups of insects evolved. They chose an easy way to avoid the fate of being eaten.


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Evolution as self-defense

There is a version that many of their signs of cockroaches acquired in the process of evolution, and precisely for self-defense. So, banana cockroaches (Panchlora) chose the simplest approach - camouflage: they are green, and this helps them to harmonize with the environment.

Individuals of the genus Perisphaerus have the ability to roll into a protective ball, like armadillos. Representatives of the Filipino cockroaches (Prosoplecta) were even more cunning - they successfully mimic under ladybirds. Convenient, beautiful, and most importantly safe: you will not crush a person and you will not eat a bird. In order to achieve the rounded shape of a ladybug, a cockroach wraps the rear wings, like an umbrella, around itself.

There are more aggressive ways of self-defense. For example, a Pacific cockroach can open fire with a defensive spray as danger approaches. A Madagascar hissing cockroach makes frightening sounds, scaring off enemies.

Bred like cockroaches

So they say no wonder. With such a rich experience of survival, these insects have come up with a lot of original ways to increase their reproductive function.

But mostly cockroaches reproduce sexually. After mating, the female lays 35-45 eggs in a bag, which she carries with herself until the hatching of the offspring. Interestingly, it can store the gametes of a male for a long time, and for her to lay eggs again, it does not necessarily involve the male. It all depends on the conditions.


Some species release the larvae, which turn into cubs. But Pacific cockroaches incubate the eggs directly with the brood bag, without carrying it with them. But after the birth of live calves, the female feeds them with milk secretion. In other species, young huddle under the wing of the mother. It looks touching if you do not know that the little vampires drink her blood, cutting her body with razor-sharp jaws.

So what about a nuclear explosion?

Radiation and cockroaches - this question interests many. Is it true that all of us will perish, and these godless creatures will live even after the apocalypse? Scientists believe that this theory is more like a myth. Although with such vitality and resourcefulness it would not be surprising that cockroaches will remain on the planet even after a nuclear explosion. However, judging by the results of the study, their talents will still not be enough for such a feat.

For a person, the radiation dose will be 10 Gray / sec. (10 Gr. / Sec. = 1000 Rad. / Sec.). For a cockroach, a dose of only 5 times the dose will be critical. This may seem paradoxical, but cockroaches are at the bottom of radiation resistance for insects. Other species can withstand doses of radiation ten times more intense, and even more. It turns out that debunked the most important of the myths about the survivability of cockroaches.

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