Friday, October 5, 2007

The Truth About Cockroaches

Cockroaches might plague your kitchen, but these widely misunderstood creatures are typically not household pests.

Scientists consider only 1 percent of all cockroach species as pests.

This fact and other details about the group of widely loathed insects called Blattodea are now available in the first online database of the world's cockroaches, launched this month by the Natural History Museum, London.

Highlights of the Blattodea Species File Online:

* The world's heaviest cockroach: the Australian rhinoceros cockroach, which weighs as much as 1 ounce (30 grams) or the same as three adult small perching songbirds, called blue tits.

* The smallest: the North American Attaphila fungicola, about three millimeters long or a bit longer than a red ant, lives in the nests of leafcutter ants.

* Greatest wingspan: the Central and South American Megaloblatta blaberoides, which has a spread of up to 7 inches (185 millimeters).

* Noisiest: Madagascar hissing cockroaches.

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