Friday, February 11, 2011

Winter Insects, Part II

I know it is creepy, even if it is just a wood roach.

Wood cockroach.
    But don't worry, this roach was out in the woods.  Wood roaches thrive on decaying vegetation and are rarely found in houses.  All trepidation about cockroaches aside, they have some noteworthy capabilities that I would like to examine.
   First, consider the circumstances under which I found this roach.  I was out trekking though the snow looking for some winter insects.  When I pulled off a piece of loose bark from a dead hickory, there was a congregation of stiff ants and a cockroach that went tearing around like I caught it red-handed with a stash of something it didn't want to be associated with.  Anyway, we have the coal stove cranked up and a roaring fire in the fireplace but the house is still chilly around the edges.  Obviously our house needs some more insulation.  So you see, we can deal with the cold with artificial means and brains, but the roach has a built in mechanism for dealing with the seasons.

 Maybe the roach was snacking on an easy meal of incapacitated ants.  "I'm just sayin"

      Another cockroach capability is their ability to live on a nutrient poor diet.  They accomplish this with symbiotic relationships with bacteria.  One symbiont is called Blattabacterium.  An article I read says,
"The central role hypothesized for Blattabacterium is amino acid biosynthesis and waste nitrogen recycling, and this role is supported by past experimental studies."   This article is titled, "Nitrogen Recycling and Nutritional Provisioning by Blattabacterium, the Cockroach Endosymbiont".  To read the article click here.

Can you stand another glance at this ugly critter?

Perhaps, like me, your roach revulsion is now tempered with a slight fascination.
Oh yes, and if you are like me, you will want to know a bit more about roaches. The book, Life on a Little Known Planet has a chapter on the "world of the cockroach ".

1 comment:

  1. You know... I'll just continue to want to say the same thing anytime I read one of your posts.

    They're so fascinating. So cool.

    Oh, and you're welcome about sending my readers your way. It's a privlege.
    And the looks of your blog are just fine. Besides it's the content that matters most - anyway.