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Australian cockroach

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Australian cockroach
Australian cockroach top view
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Blattodea
Family: Blattidae
Genus: Periplaneta
Species: P. australasiae
Binomial name
Periplaneta australasiae
Fabricius, 1775
  • Periplaneta repanda Walker, F., 1868[1]
  • Blatta australasiae Fabricius 1775
  • Blatta aurantiaca Stoll 1813
  • Blatta domingensis Palisot de Beauvois 1805
  • Periplaneta zonata Haan 1842
  • Periplaneta subcincta Walker, F., 1868
  • Polyzosteria subornata Walker, F., 1871
  • Periplaneta inclusa Walker, F., 1868
  • Periplaneta emittens Walker, F., 1871

The Australian cockroach (Periplaneta australasiae) is a common species of tropical cockroach, with a length of 23–35 millimetres (0.91–1.38 in).[2][3] It is brown in colour. Tegmina have a conspicuous lateral pale stripe or margin, and the pronotum (head shield) has a sharply contrasting pale or yellow margin.[2] It is very similar in appearance to the American cockroach and may be easily mistaken for it. It is however, slightly smaller than the American cockroach, has a yellow margin on the thorax and yellow streaks at its sides near the wing base.

Despite its name, the Australian cockroach is a cosmopolitan species, and an introduced species in Australia.[4] P. australasiae probably originated in Africa.[3] It is very common in the southern United States and in tropical climates, and can be found in many locations throughout the world due to its travels via shipping and commerce between locations. It can be found in Florida, California, and other coastal states.[citation needed]

Australian cockroach side view

The insect can travel quickly, often darting out of sight when someone enters a room, and can fit into small cracks and under doors despite its fairly large size. It is known to be very mobile; it also has wings which allow it to be quite a capable flier.[citation needed]

It prefers warmer climates and is not cold tolerant, however, it may be able to survive indoors in colder climates. It does well in moist conditions but also can tolerate dry conditions as long as water is available. It often lives around the perimeter of buildings. It appears to prefer eating plants more than its relatives do, but can feed on a wide array of organic (including decaying) matter. Like most cockroaches, it is a scavenger.[citation needed]

It may come indoors to look for food and even to live, however, in warm weather it may move outdoors and enter buildings looking for food.[citation needed]


Wikimedia Commons has media related to Periplaneta australasiae.
  1. "Synonyms of Australian cockroach (Periplaneta australasiae)". Encyclopedia of Life. Retrieved 2 January 2014.
  2. Furman, Deane Philip; Catts, E. Paul (1982). Manual of Medical Entomology. CUP Archive. p. 37. ISBN 978-0-521-29920-6.
  3. Hill, Dennis S. (30 September 2002). Pests of Stored Foodstuffs and Their Control. Springer. p. 145. ISBN 978-1-4020-0736-1.
  4. "Periplaneta australasiae (Fabricius)". Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation. 11 November 2004. Retrieved 24 July 2010.

External links

  • Black and white photographs of top view of P. australasiae male and female specimens, from Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections.
  • Drawings of body parts of a male P. australasiae; plate VII, figures 17-19 show detail of pronotum, end of abdomen with cerci, and enlarged view of the genital process. From a 1917 article by Morgan Hebard, with a key to the figures on pages 280-281.
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