What do you know about cockroaches?

Smallest and largest cockroaches in the world

Smallest and largest cockroaches in the world

They are disgusting pests aren't they? Well there is more to 'roaches than meets the eye. One of the most adaptable creatures, cockroaches exist worldwide, with the exception of the polar regions and in elevations above 2,000 metres. 

Over 4,000 species

There are about 4,300 species of cockroach and less than 30 of these are considered pests. This is amazing when you consider there are only about 5,400 species of mammals.

Roach record breakers
  • The world's smallest cockroach is only 3mm long (see red arrow) and lives in ant nests.
  • The heaviest cockroach is the huge Australian Rhinoceros Cockroach at 80mm in length (left).
  • The cockroach with the largest wingspan, of up to 185mm is the Megaloblatta blaberoides.
The dusky cockroach

The dusky cockroach

Born and bred

Britain only has 3 native species, none of which are pests (these have been accidentally brought in from abroad). They are:

  • tawny cockroach
  • lesser cockroach
  • dusky cockroach


Strange variations

Did you know that termites are actually cockroaches that evolved to eat wood.

Many cockroaches are amphibious and run into water when threatened. 

Greatest survivors

Cockroaches are one of our planet’s great survivors.

The oldest fossil from a cockroach-like insect is from the Carboniferous period, about 315 million years ago. This means cockroaches have seen the dinosaurs come and go. Will they outlast us too?