Roach Facts: Why Do Cockroaches Die on Their Backs and More
Cockroaches may be considered as the most disgusting creatures you've ever encountered. But there are a lot of fascinating truths you have yet to know about them such as their significance in the ecosystem, reason why they flip over when they die and whether or not they can die by drowning. This article will provide you an insightful view on the basic truths about cockroaches.
Pretty Little Creatures Called Cockroaches
Cockroaches. These insects are so undesirable that even the name itself would make a number of you shudder. Hence, majority of us look at these creatures with disgust, others with fear, and for some, both. However, there are things you certainly do not know about cockroaches -- that even insects these terrible could still possess some hidden wonder and beauty. So, let's start exploring the dark and bright sides of these pretty little creatures called cockroaches.
Why was it Called Cockroach?
It is incorrect to interpret the word by dividing it into two words because the first four-letter term refers to a rooster while the latter term refers to a type of fish (though roach is commonly used as a shorter term for cockroach).
However, Cockroach actually came from the Spanish word "cucaracha".However, this has evolved into the term we know as cockroach. The brief history regarding the evolution of the term is summarized below:
In a published work of Captain John Smith in 1624, he wrote "...with a certain India Bug, called by the Spaniards a Cacarootch, the which creeping into Chests they eat and defile with their ill-sented dung". This alteration of the term "caca" was soon influenced (and replaced) by the English term associated with the rooster, resulting to the emergence of the new term "cockrootch" and finally to cockroach (American Heritage, 2007).
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Ecological Significance of Cockroaches
Cockroaches play a vital role in the process of decomposition which is an essential part of the ecosystem. Through them, water, nutrients, and energy are able to be recycled back into the ecosystem from decaying plants, animals and organic litter. Thus, through this process, cockroaches tend to fortify the soil with nutrients that plants need (Paige, 1998). Without cockroaches, the cycle may be impaired and may end up damaging the entire ecosystem we live in.
Other ecological importance of cockroaches include pollination and being part of the food chain.
Significance of Cockroaches
Many among us wonder why cockroaches were made in the first place and why do they exist. If I'm guessing it right, you may even think that they shouldn't have existed at all because they are simply pests that are overly disgusting and filthy. However, unbeknownst to many, cockroaches do have significance. They play vital roles in the world we live in.
Medical Significance of Cockroaches
Historical accounts claim that cockroaches were used as medicines after grinding up and boiling them. Others believed that parts of cockroaches served as treatment of asthma, stroke, bronchitis and urinary retention. Some even made boiled cockroach tea (Can you imagine that?). Of course, all of these are dubious, and would need up-to-date medical proof. However, there are some recent books claiming that cockroaches have significance in the field of dermatology and possibly other fields as well.
One of the medical significance of cockroaches (that need not any proof to be valid) is that they are used for medical experiments. They provide benefit in the field of medical research especially in identifying the effects of chemical and various radiation on nerves.
Why Do Cockroaches Die on Their Backs
I know that somehow you've wondered why cockroaches flip over when they die (not unless you decided to step on them).It really is mind-boggling, isn't it? Here's a simplified explanation to that:
Cockroaches, apparently, have bulky bodies (composing of 3 heavy body segments) which are only supported by 6 long thin legs, As they die, they lose muscle-control causing the leg muscles to contract. As a result, the legs are forced to be pulled beneath the body causing them to lose their balance, and topple over. This also explains why cockroaches on the wall fall off when they were crawling on the wall and got sprayed with insecticides.
Is flipping over always the case?
No. There is still a possibility for a cockroach to die without toppling over. However, it is inherent upon these insects to involuntary experience muscle contraction and end up lying on their back upon dying.
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- This approach of eliminating cockroaches involves single application of insecticide. The chemical will spread from generations to generations as cockroaches feed off of each other (including their wastes containing the insecticide). In this way, the insecticide is automatically contracted to other
The Weak Spot
Cockroaches are known for being the greatest survivors. They would even survive a nuclear explosion. At home, it is sometimes too difficult to eliminate cockroaches. So, let's find out what could eliminate a cockroach.
Going through some reading materials, I've found out that the weak spot of cockroaches is their appetite (the mouth) such in the case of eating pesticides.
- Pesticides and insecticides are definitely one of the most convenient solutions you may have.
- Boric acid or borax are said to be effective in eliminating cockroaches. Some even say that this is their ultimate weakness. Mixing them with flour, and spreading it across your home may totally eliminate your roach problem.
- Cockroaches are insects under the order "Blattaria".
- In estimate, there are about 4,000 to 5,000 species of cockroaches in which 30 among them are associated with human habitations.
- Cockroaches can run up to 3km/hr or 0.8 m/s.
- Cockroaches recognize their family and relatives by their distinctive odors.
- Cockroaches are nocturnal, omnivorous insects.
More Interesting Facts About Cockroaches
- Cockroaches don't easily drown, and may even last for 30 minutes (or more) underwater. Check out the video for the experiment.
- Most species of cockroaches live in the tropics (like the Philippines)
- Cockroaches love glue the most. That's why it's their favorite food.
- Most American cockroaches are immigrants.
- Cockroach can still survive without its head. Both the body and the head will still be able to respond to stimulus through minor reactions such as wiggling of the antenna and the legs. However, the head part will be able to last only for a few hours while a body may last up to several weeks.
- Cockroaches can survive without food for a month but will only last one week without water. Hence, the most important thing that they will run after is water and not food.
- Cockroaches have six hairy legs, and the hairs provide them their sense of touch.
- Some female cockroaches mate only once and become pregnant for the rest of their lives.
- Cockroaches can basically eat everything due to the presence of various bacteria and protozoa in their digestive system.
More interesting facts about Cockroaches!
- Do Cockroaches Die of Hunger or Thirst? How about Heart Attack?
Wondering about the same question? Well wonder no more as you unfold the case. In this article, you will find out whether or not roaches can indeed die of heart attack, hunger or thirst!
© 2012 Renz Kristofer Cheng