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Friday Eco-fact: Australia’s Many Species of Cockroaches

It really doesn’t surprise me that Australia has this many species of cockroaches:

Australia has a surprising 450 species of native cockroach, ranging from small and colourful beetle-like creatures, active by day, to the giant rhinoceros cockroach. They occupy many habitats, from suburban gardens to coastal heath to the arid inland.  [Australian Geographic]

Here is an example of one of the colorful Australian cockroaches known scientifically as Austral Ellipsidion:

If you can believe it one of the most common cockroaches in Australia is known as the American cockroach.  Shockingly these cockroaches are large and black. Unfortunately those were the only cockroaches I saw around my house in Victoria. 

You all living in Queensland actually have access to cockroaches that are supposedly popular as pets:

Australians looking for a little creature company in
their urban homes are shunning the dog and cat in favour of a more economical pet – the cockroach.

Workers in Australia’s pet industry say the demand for
insects as pets has risen in the past five years because of more cramped urban living conditions.

Cockroaches are particular favourites, especially as the largest of the species is native to Australia.

“Admittedly they are a bit of an unusual pet,” John
Olive, one of the major suppliers of giant cockroaches to the
Australian pet market, told the Reuters news agency.

“But the kids can play with them without getting hurt and they are very low maintenance.” (……..)

The cockroach believed to be most suited to pet life is
the giant burrowing variety – or rhinoceros cockroach – that is native to Australia, and found in the warm, north-eastern state of Queensland.

These gigantic cockroaches, officially called
Macropanesthia Rhinoceros, grow as big as the palm of a hand, measuring
about 80 millimetres (3.15 inches) and weighing 35 grams (1.2 ounces).

They are also known to live up to 10 years.

Some pet shops rename the creatures “litter bugs”, “rain beetles” or “macrobugs” to escape the cockroach stigma.  [BBC News]

You can learn more about the Rhinoceros Cockroach here. These cockroaches are just another example of the incredible biodiversity Australia has

So those of you living in Queensland, have you bought your kids a pet cockroach yet? If not what are you waiting for? đŸ˜‰