Cockroach Studies, a new journal devoted entirely to the study of cockroaches, is launched. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Cockroach Studies is the world's first journal dedicated to these much-maligned insects.
'Cockroaches are fascinating attractive insects which have an unjustifiably bad reputation thanks to a few widespread pests,' said Dr George Beccaloni, the Natural History Museum's cockroach expert and deputy editor of Cockroach Studies.
Worldwide, about 4,300 species of cockroach have so far been named and this is probably only 50 per cent of the total. Less than 30 of these are pests.
Cockroach Studies is aimed at both scientists and enthusiasts who keep cockroaches as pets. It will publish information about cockroach ecology, biology and taxonomy as well as practical advice on how to breed them in captivity.
'Although there are quite a lot of people who keep exotic cockroaches as pets (such as giant Madagascan hissing cockroaches, shown right), very few people worldwide are doing any serious scientific work on the non-pest species. I hope that Cockroach Studies will show how interesting cockroaches really are and that it will encourage more people to study them,' said Beccaloni.
Cockroaches vary greatly in their size, colour and lifestyle. The smallest , the North American Attaphila fungicola , measures less than three millimetres long and lives in the nests of leafcutter ants.
The world's heaviest cockroach is the wingless Australian rhinoceros cockroach,Macropanesthia rhinoceros, which weighs up to 33.5 grammes and has a body length of up to 80 millimetres (shown right). It has one of the most complex lifestyles of all cockroaches and, with a lifespan of more than 10 years, it is among the longest lived of all insects.
The largest winged cockroach is the Central and South American, Megaloblatta blaberoides , which has a wingspan of up to 185 millimetres (the picture at the top of the page shows the cockroach with the second largest wingspan, the closely relatedMegaloblatta longipennis ).
Britain has three small native cockroaches, the tawny cockroach, Ectobius pallidus , the lesser cockroach, E. panzeri and the dusky cockroach, E. lapponicus (shown right).
These native species are never pests. The two main pests found in houses in Britain are tropical species that have been introduced accidentally, they are the German cockroach, Blattella germanica and the oriental cockroach, Blatta orientalis.
Download the first issue of Cockroach Studies (5.8MB pdf) journal here.