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Cockroaches: Blattodea

German Cockroach (blattella Germanica): Species Accounts

Physical characteristics: This species measures 0.4 to 0.5 inches (10.2 to 12.7 millimeters) in length. Males and females are fully winged and similar in appearance. Their bodies are pale yellowish brown to tan. The midsection has dark parallel stripes.

Geographic range: The German cockroach is found in association with humans around the world. It is even found in cold climates, such Greenland, Iceland, and the Canadian Arctic, where it lives indoors in homes and businesses.

Habitat: This species is a common pest in kitchens, food-storage areas, and restaurants. They are also widespread in the galleys and storerooms of ships and jetliners. In warmer climates they are found outdoors, living under houses, in trash piles, on date palms, and in city dumps. They also occur in gold mines and caves in South Africa.

Diet: German cockroaches eat almost anything that is plant or animal in origin.

The German roach is a common pest in kitchens, food-storage areas, and restaurants. (Bob Gossington/Bruce Coleman Inc. Reproduced by permission.)

Behavior: German cockroaches lives in groups and may build up large colonies if they are not controlled. For example, a four-room apartment in Texas had an infestation of mostly German cockroaches numbering between fifty thousand and one hundred thousand individuals. Despite their well-developed wings, they are poor fliers. They usually just glide down to the floor. Mature females "call" males by raising their wings to release a pheromone from a special gland near the tip of the abdomen. During courtship the female climbs on the back of the male and feeds on a fluid coming out of glands on the male's abdomen. Eventually, the male deposits a sperm packet directly into the body of the female.

German cockroaches and people: This species can be a household pest and is known to cause asthma attacks in people. It is also suspected to carry bacteria that cause disease in humans.

Conservation status: This species is not endangered or threatened. ∎

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceInsects and SpidersCockroaches: Blattodea - Physical Characteristics, Habitat, Diet, Behavior And Reproduction, Cockroaches And People, Madeira Cockroach (rhyparobia Maderae): Species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, CONSERVATION STATUS