Periplaneta Japonica, a new Cockroach, Invades NYC

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There is a widely-held belief that if a nuclear explosion were to occur, the only surviving things would be cockroaches. While the Mythbusters have proven this belief to be plausible, but not certain, there is a new species of cockroach in the United States that is pushing the boundaries of cockroach survival.

The Periplaneta Japonica, or Japanese Cockroach, has been confirmed to be living in New York City by researchers from Rutgers University. Insect biologists, Jessica Ware and Dominic Evangelista, have published a paper, entitled “Using DNA Barcodes to Confirm the Presence of a New Invasive Cockroach Pest in New York City,” in the latest edition of the Journal of Economic Entomology, in which they discuss the origins and presence of the new species of cockroach found in New York City.

The Japanese Cockroach was first spotted by an exterminator working at the High Line, a new tourist attraction in Manhattan's West Side that is an abandoned, elevated railroad track reclaimed into an urban park. As it currently stands, the researchers believe the cockroach arrived in the US from Asia by hitching a ride on imported plants.

New Yorkers should not be terribly worried about having to face a new species of cockroach, however. Researchers have stated that “Because this species is very similar to cockroach species that already exist in the urban environment, they likely will compete with each other for space and for food.Their combined numbers inside buildings could actually fall because more time and energy spent competing means less time and energy to devote to reproduction.”

There is some cause for concern, though, due to the survival abilities of the Japanese cockroach: “There has been some confirmation that it does very well in cold climates, so it is very conceivable that it could live outdoors during winter in New York,” stated Ware. The Japanese cockroach has been reported to be able to survive temperatures as low as -8 °C, or 17.6 °F, something unique to this species of cockroach.

And for those who are worried that the Japanese cockroaches will mate with normal NYC cockroaches and create a super-strain of cockroaches, your fears are allayed: "The male and female genitalia fit together like a lock and key, and that differs by species. So we assume that one won't fit the other," reported Evangelista.

[Image via YouTube]

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