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Giant Cockroach Reemerges in Australia After More Than 80 Years of Being ‘Extinct’

Giant cockroach news

A unique cockroach, which lived on Lord Howe Island in Australia and has been considered extinct since the Thirties, has been rediscovered by a biology student.

A large wingless wood-eating cockroach, Panesthia lata, has been discovered by Maxim Adams, a student at the University of Sydney, under rocks near a banyan tree in the North Bay.

These cockroaches once lived all over the archipelago, but after the arrival of rats on the island in 1918, they began to disappear.

“The survival is great news, as it has been more than 80 years since [the cockroach] was last seen,” said Lord Howe Island Board chairman Atticus Fleming about the find.

“Lord Howe Island really is a spectacular place, it’s older than the Galápagos islands and is home to 1,600 native invertebrate species, half of which are found nowhere else in the world.”

The cockroach has a length of between 22 and 40 millimeters, with a metallic body colour that varies from reddish to black.

Australia is home to 11 types of Panesthia wood cockroaches, which are powerful mountain burrowers that feed on rotting logs in rainforests and open woodlands on Australia’s north and east coasts. They carry in their intestines specific microorganisms that help digest cellulose in wood.

Scientists say that tree cockroaches are important for maintaining a healthy ecosystem on the island. They help to accelerate the decomposition of wood residues and are also a source of food for other species.

Image credit: Friendbuddypalchamp, C BY-SA 4.0

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6 COMMENTS

  1. Rats eat cockroaches? I hope that is the most sick making thing I read for this year!
    The board chairman is excited about the find? Good grief, what sort of deprived life does he lead?
    The Lord Howe Island cockroaches might grow to 4cm in length, but they have got nothing on the Sydney ones.
    Cockroaches would survive nuclear war. Now we know how they do it. They scuttle into the luxury bunkers with their polly mates.

  2. Successive Australian governments are funding and promoting manufactured food from bugs and insects. A giant cockroach makes it more food Aussies. Their good food will sail to US and EU and locals can have the insect burgers or crocodiles etc. ????????

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