T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network

Cockroach (American) Periplaneta americana

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Blattodea
Family: Blattidae
Genus: Periplaneta
Species: P. americana
Binomial name: Periplaneta americana
Common names: American cockroach, Ship cockroach, kKkerlac, Bombay canary

Periplaneta americana is the largest species of common cockroach and are considered a pest. The odorous secretions produced by Periplaneta americana can alter the flavour of food. Cockroaches can pick up disease-causing bacteria, such as Salmonella, on their legs and later deposit them on foods and cause food infections or poisoning. House dust containing cockroach faeces and body parts can trigger allergic reactions and asthma in certain individuals.

Periplaneta americana generally live in moist areas, but can survive in dry areas if they have access to water. They prefer warm temperatures around 29 °C and do not tolerate cold temperatures. These cockroaches are common in basements, sewers, crawl spaces, cracks and crevices of porches, foundations, and walkways adjacent to buildings. They may move outdoors during warm weather.

Adults have an average length of around 4 cm and about 7 mm tall. They are reddish brown and have a yellowish margin on the body region behind the head. Immature cockroaches resemble adults except they are wingless.
Periplaneta americana have three developmental stages: egg, nymph, and adult. Females produce an egg case (ootheca) which protrudes from the tip of the abdomen. On average, females produce 9–10 oothecae (egg cases), although they can sometimes produce as many as 90. The cockroach is paurometabolous (immature stages resemble small adults). After about two days, the egg cases are placed on a surface in a safe location. Egg cases are about 0.9 cm long, brown, and purse-shaped. Immature cockroaches emerge from egg cases in 6–8 weeks and require 6–12 months to mature. After hatching, the nymphs feed and undergo a series of 13 moultings (or ecdysis). Adult cockroaches can live up to an additional year, during which females produce an average of 150 young.
They are omnivorous and opportunistic feeders that eat a great variety of materials such as cheese, beer, tea, leather, bakery products, starch in book bindings, manuscripts, glue, hair, flakes of dried skin, dead animals, plant materials, soiled clothing, and glossy paper with starch sizing. They are particularly fond of fermenting foods.

Thanks to Wikipedia for text and information: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/