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Friday, May 06, 2005


Cockroaches are probably the most hated and least understood insect on the planet Earth. Yet there are many of us who admire, study, collect, or cherish them. Cockroaches most commonly used as pets are the larger tropical species such as the Madagascar Hissing Cockroach, the Peppered Cockroach (Archimandrita tesselata - see my photos of Tess and one of her offspring), the Costa Rican Giant Cave Cockroach, and the Deaths Head Cockroach. The American and Australian cockroaches make good laboratory research animals and scientists all over the world use them to study everything from DNA to neurology to virology. An example can be seen here. Cockroaches as feeder insects for reptiles, amphibians, rodents, and many other insectivores are growing in popularity over the former favorite, the cricket. They are rich in protein and healthful fatty acids and are actually more healthful eating than chicken. There are some people who savor cockroaches as a gastronomic treat, in fact. I'm told they taste like shrimp. I haven't had the doubtful pleasure of sampling one for myself. But their resemblance to shrimp is not surprising since shrimp and cockroaches are both arthropods. So are crabs and lobster. BTW, my male A. tesselatas were measured by me with the help of a friend very carefully several times. Despite the literature to the contrary, they measured 4 inches long by a little less than 2 inches wide.

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I live on the Pacific slopes of the Talamanca mountain range in southern Costa Rica. My adult children live in the United States. I have a Masters Degree in Gerontology but have worked as a migrant laborer, chicken egg collector, radio broadcaster, secretary, social worker, research director, bureaucrat, writer, editor, political organizer, publicist, telephone operator, and more. My hobby of photography has garnered some awards.

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