Where Do Cockroaches Get Their Name?

Cockroaches are primitive winged insects from the Blattodea order, with over four thousand species in the world. Although the word is English, it actually comes from the Spanish word cucaracha, which means “little pig.” Cockroaches are round and flat-bodied, and have long, threadlike antennae and a leathery integument. Female cockroaches have vestigial wings.

Cockroaches are dark brown insects with two light bands that run the length of their bodies. They typically reach about a half-inch in length. Male cockroaches are able to fly, while females have underdeveloped wings. They usually prefer warm, dry areas with temperatures in the 80s Fahrenheit range. They are pests and carry bacteria, parasites, and human pathogens.

Cockroaches share a symbiotic relationship with bacteroids that live in their fat bodies. Bacteria are passed on to new generations in the form of a thin coating on the eggs of a female cockroach. Bacteria from the bacteroids are responsible for producing all of the vitamins and minerals that a cockroach needs to survive. Without the bacteroids, cockroaches lack essential vitamins, such as choline and cholesterol, so they must supplement their diets by eating other organisms.

The brain of the cockroach is divided into three parts: the head, thoracic, and abdominal ganglia. It is thought that the female carries her egg until it hatches. Then she hides it in a dark place. Eventually, she lays up to three batches of fertilized eggs in succession. Once the eggs hatch, the exoskeleton hardens into a brown color. Cockroaches are very interesting and intriguing in their structure and development. Their wingspan can exceed 12 centimeters!