Australian Cockroach Facts
The Australian cockroach, scientifically termed as Periplaneta Australasiae, is a species that has caught the attention of many entomologists and pest controllers alike.
Though their appearance might induce a slight sense of unease in the unaccustomed, understanding their life and behavior can turn that fear into fascination.
Quick Facts Table
|Scientific Name||Periplaneta Australasiae|
|Color||Reddish-brown to dark brown with yellow markings|
|Size||Wings: 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inches long|
|Diet||Primarily plant material, starchy materials in homes|
|Preferred Habitat||Drains, greenhouses, firewood piles, sinks, toilets, tree bark, water pipes|
|Geographic Range||Widespread in Florida and southeastern coastal states|
|Life Cycle Duration||Approximately one year|
|Reproduction||20-30 egg cases with about 25 eggs each over a lifetime|
The Australian cockroach is a visual spectacle of its own. While the creature isn’t winning any beauty pageants, its reddish-brown to dark brown hue adorned with yellow markings on the head and the front edge of each wing gives it a distinctive appearance.
They are slightly smaller than their American counterparts, with wings ranging between 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inches long. Known colloquially as shad roaches, these critters have wings that extend over their abdomen, giving them the capability of gliding flight.
An interesting fact about the Australian cockroach is its relatively non-intrusive dietary habits. Primarily an herbivore, it mostly feasts on plant material. However, when it ventures indoors, it doesn’t nibble away on starchy materials around the house, such as paper and food crumbs.
Unlike many other cockroach species predominantly dwell indoors, the Australian cockroach prefers the great outdoors. They can commonly be found in yards and primarily make their homes in moist, sheltered areas. The habitat list includes but is not limited to:
- Piles of firewood
- Tree bark
- Water pipes
Despite their name, Australian cockroaches have made themselves home in various parts of the world. While they are widespread throughout their namesake Australia, they are also prevalent in Florida and other coastal states in the southeastern United States.
The life journey of the Australian cockroach is a captivating one. Starting as eggs, they go through five nymph stages before reaching adulthood. This entire cycle spans about a year.
- Eggs: Female Australian cockroaches carry their future offspring in protective cases known as oothecae. Over her lifetime, a female produces around 20-30 of these egg cases, each holding about 25 eggs.
- Nymphs: As they hatch, nymphs emerge wingless. As they progress through their stages, wing bud structures appear. A unique feature of these nymphs is the light-yellow spots atop their abdomen.
- Adults: Achieving a length of about 32-35mm, the adult Australian cockroach is a sight to behold. Their fully developed wings enhance their appearance and allow them to glide.
Understanding the biology and life cycle of the Australian cockroach can arm homeowners and enthusiasts with the knowledge to either deal with an infestation or study it from a scientific perspective. Even if you’re not a fan, you must admit that these are complex creatures with intricate lives deserving of our respect, if not our affection.
So, the next time you spot one of these Australian natives—whether in a Florida garden or an Australian outback—take a moment to appreciate the marvel of nature that is the Australian cockroach. After all, they’ve been around for hundreds of millions of years; they must be doing something right.