Interesting Insect Facts

Interesting Insect Facts

Did You Know?


Roaches:  There are nearly 4 000 species of Cockroaches (Dictyoptera, Blattodea) in the world, of which only 25 to 30 (or less than 1%) have any pest status, the rest are innocent members of the earth's fauna, some of which make great pets.

 A cockroach can live for a week without its head. Due to their open circulatory system, and the fact that they breathe through little holes in each of their body segments, they are not dependent on the mouth or head to breathe. The roach only dies because without a mouth, it can't drink water and dies of thirst.

A cockroach can hold its breath for 40 minutes, and can even survive being submerged under water for half an hour. They hold their breath often to help regulate their loss of water.

A one-day-old baby cockroach, which is about the size of a speck of dust, can run almost as fast as its parents.

Because they are cold-blooded insects, cockroaches can live without food for one month, but will only survive one week without water.

Studies have shown that cockroaches can tolerate high radiation levels, far beyond the levels that we humans can live with. In fact, cockroaches were found in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, where the US dropped atomic bombs, and in Chernobyl, where the worst nuclear accident happened. (Not to mention a cockroach was Wall-E’s only companion in post-nuclear Earth). How did the cockroaches survive? It is not yet clear but scientists believe it has something to do with the fact that cockroaches have slower cell cycles, molting only once a week at most.

Cockroaches do not have to mate every breeding season. The females can store the sperm, using it for the next few seasons and only when food is plentiful. In cockroach species with short lifespans, the females can even store enough sperm to last them a lifetime. Some female cockroaches are even capable of reproducing in severe conditions when there is no male to be found!

Some female cockroaches need only to mate once. Most cockroaches lay dozens of eggs which are stored in a case called an ootheca. These cases can be deposited somewhere or the females can carry them on their backs until the eggs hatch. Others give birth to live young.

To many, cockroaches are hated pests. To some, though, they are beloved pets. The Madagascar hissing cockroach and the true death’s head cockroach, for example, are popular pets since they are odorless and require minimal care. As mentioned before, cockroaches are not picky eaters and they do not get sick easily. They only need a terrarium with a lot of hiding places.

 A pair of Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches.



Ants On Planet Earth 

Going for a walk outdoors?  While on your hike when you look down you'll probably spy an ant or two or 10 scurrying along.  The renowned biologists Bert Hölldobler and E. O. Wilson estimated in their Pulitzer Prize-winning 1990 book, "The Ants" (Belknap Press), that on the order of 10 quadrillion ants live on the planet at any given moment. That's about 1.4 million ants per human, based on a world population of 7.3 billion people.

Ants can live how long?

Amongst the Hymenoptera order (ants, bees and wasps), the egg-laying queens of colonies can live for decades. In the case of the red harvester ant, Pogonomyrmex barbatus, queens can live perhaps as long as 30 years.

Insects breath through their sides. 

Insects do not breathe through their mouths. They inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide via holes called spiracles in their exoskeletons. These holes typically line insects' thoraxes and abdomens. Also bizarre: Insect respiratory systems are not patched into the animals' circulatory systems, as they are in humans, where the lungs exchange gases with the bloodstream. Instead, insects have a cardiovascular-like network of tubes, called a tracheal system, which delivers oxygen and ferries away carbon dioxide from each cell in the animals' bodies.





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  • Ken Parton
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