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What Are the Big Roaches Called?

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Cockroaches are insects that have been around for millions of years, surviving through a myriad of environmental changes. They come in various shapes and sizes, but one thing that many people wonder about is the big roaches. What are they called? Let’s delve into this matter.


The big roaches are commonly referred to as American cockroaches or palmetto bugs (Periplaneta americana). Other large cockroach species include the Australian cockroach and the Central American giant cockroach. The biggest of them all is the Megaloblatta longipennis, which is the world’s largest cockroach by length and wingspan.

The Big Roaches: An Overview

Big roaches are commonly referred to as American cockroaches or palmetto bugs (Periplaneta americana). They are large, winged insects with a dark brown coloration and a cream-colored prothorax that has dark markings resembling sunglasses. These roaches can grow up to 2 inches in length. Other large cockroach species include the Australian cockroach, which can grow to about 1 ¼ inches long, and the Central American giant cockroach (Blaberus giganteus), one of the largest cockroach species in the world, with females growing up to 4 inches long.

The Biggest of Them All: The Megaloblatta Longipennis

The scientific classification of the biggest species of cockroaches, Megaloblatta longipennis, is as follows:

  • Domain: Eukaryota
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Class: Insecta
  • Order: Blattodea
  • Family: Ectobiidae
  • Subfamily: Nyctiborinae
  • Genus: Megaloblatta
  • Species: Megaloblatta longipennis

Megaloblatta longipennis is the world’s largest cockroach by length and wingspan, reaching up to 3.8 inches in length and having a wingspan of up to 8 inches. This species is native to Peru, Panama, and Ecuador.

Identifying Characteristics of Large Roaches

Large roaches can be identified by their size, color, and other physical characteristics. Some common features of large roaches include:

  1. Size: Most large roaches are between 1 and 3 inches in length.
  2. Shape: They have flat, oval-shaped bodies.
  3. Legs: Roaches have six long, spiny legs.
  4. Antennae: They possess a pair of long antennae.
  5. Wings: Most large roaches have wings, but not all of them can fly. Some species may use their wings to glide for short distances.
  6. Color: Large roaches are typically brown or black, but some species may appear yellowish or reddish-brown.

Geographic Distribution

Large roaches, such as the American cockroach, are commonly found in various geographical locations. They have spread throughout the world due to human commerce. Cockroaches are abundant in tropical and subtropical regions, but they can also be found in temperate climates. American cockroaches, despite their name, are native to Africa and the Middle East and were introduced to the Americas in the 17th century.

Role in the Ecosystem

Large roaches play crucial roles in their ecosystems by serving as a food source for other organisms, recycling nutrients, controlling pest populations, decomposing organic matter, and contributing to soil fertility.

In conclusion, the big roaches are not only fascinating creatures due to their size but also play important roles in their ecosystems. Whether you are interested in entomology or just curious about these creatures, understanding the big roaches can provide you with a deeper appreciation of nature’s diversity.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do all cockroaches fly?

No, not all cockroaches can fly. While most large roaches have wings, their ability to fly varies by species. Some can fly short distances or glide, while others are unable to use their wings for flight.

What is the lifespan of a large cockroach?

The lifespan of large cockroaches varies by species. The American cockroach, for example, can live up to two years, while the Central American giant cockroach can live up to 20 months in ideal conditions.

Are large cockroaches harmful to humans?

Large cockroaches are not directly harmful to humans as they do not bite or sting. However, they can carry and spread bacteria and other pathogens, contributing to the spread of diseases. They can also cause allergic reactions in some people.

What do large roaches eat?

Large roaches are omnivorous and can eat a wide variety of organic matter. Their diet includes decaying matter, paper, clothing, and even glue. They are also known to eat sweet foods and starches.

How do I get rid of large cockroaches?

There are various methods for getting rid of large cockroaches, including using insecticides, traps, and baits. Professional pest control services may be necessary in severe infestations. Prevention is key, so maintaining cleanliness and sealing potential entry points can help keep roaches at bay.

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