COCKROACH CONTROL MANUAL
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Species B. Giganteus
..............................INTRODUCTION TO ENTOMOLOGY
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Blaberus giganteusBlaberus giganteus, the Central American giant cave cockroach or Brazilian cockroach, is a cockroach belonging to the family Blaberidae.
Blaberus giganteus is considered one of the largest cockroaches in the world, with males reaching lengths of up to 7.5 cm and females 10 cm , although others list 9 cm as the maximum length. These cockroaches are lightly built with flattened bodies, allowing them to hide in cracks from predators. Their bodies are brown with black markings. The wingspan of these insects is usually around 15 cm.
Both males and females bear paired appendages on the last abdominal segment, but only the males have a pair of tiny hair-like appendages called styli. Adults bear two pairs of wings folding back over the abdomen. The heavier females are less likely to fly. These cockroaches are closely related to the first winged insects that lived in the Carboniferous coal forests about 200 million years ago.
This species is endemic to Central America and northern South America, and can be found in the rainforests, in Mexico, Guatemala, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana. Habitat preferences include areas of high moisture and little light, such as caves, tree hollows, and cracks in rocks.
As typical for all roaches, individuals undergo hemimetabolous metamorphosis, which means the change from juvenile to adult is gradual. The three distinct stages in their lifecycle are egg, nymph, and adult. Only adults are able to reproduce and have wings. Prolonged nymphal stages, along with additional molts, can sometimes occur in B. giganteus for a number of reasons. One hypothesis is that the absence jostling and mutual stimulation which are found often in colony life could slow the developmental process. In other instances, lower temperatures and reduced humidity can lead to delayed maturation and an increase in the number of molts. This is a response by the insect to unfavourable habitat conditions and can also be seen as a predatory response. Their lifespans can last up to 20 months depending on habitat conditions and diet.
Blaberus giganteus is a nocturnal omnivore and a scavenger, but the majority of its diet is decaying plant material. Other food choices include bat guano, fruit, seeds, and carrion. It is often associated with bats roosts, both in caves and hollow dung. They also prefer sweets, meats, and starches as their daily meal.
When exposed to infection or invasion of various microorganisms, insects have two general responses of their immune systems. In B. giganteus, such an invasion elicits a humoral response, where specific proteins are produced or activated by the existence of a pathogen.
Cockroaches always have three legs in synchronous contact with the ground during movement. The three legs are classified as the leading leg, middle leg, and trailing leg and the leading and trailing leg from one side with the middle leg of the other side forms a tripod. The leading leg pulls the body, while the trailing leg pushes the middle leg forward. The middle leg is important because it acts as a pivot and creates the characteristic zigzag locomotion. The process is repeated with the next tripod, and to move forward, the tripods alternate. The ability of cockroaches to have ground reaction force distributed equally to these three legs is explained by joint torque minimization, which has been shown to help limit mechanical, energetic, and metabolic demands, and can also decrease the axial load on a single leg. Cockroaches can easily walk up a 45 degree slope on a smooth surface with little to no difficulty.