Orthopteroid Insects
Cockroach Biology
Australian Cockroach
Common Methana
U-marked Methana
Pale Woodland  Cockroach
Oval Woodland Cockroach
Black Woodland Cockroach
Reddish-brown Cockroach
White-tailed Cockroach
Austral Ellipsidion
Small Ellipsidion
See-through Ellipsidion
Beautiful Ellipsidion
Balta Cockroach 1
Balta Cockroach 2
Balta Cockroach 3
Orange-brown Cockroach
Shelford's Cockroach
Surinam Cockroach
Bark cockroach
Mottled Cockroach
Wood Cockroach


Cockroaches - Order Blattaria or Blattodea

This page contains pictures and information about Cockroaches that we found in the Brisbane area, Queensland, Australia. This page is about cockroaches in nature environments. If you are looking for information about cockroaches as pest, you may want to search for some other web sites.
The largest Cockroach found in Brisbane Botanic Garden. 
Cockroaches are classified as order Blattaria or Blattodea. Most of them are beautiful insects although this perception is always outweighed by their name "cockroaches". 
There are many different species and most of them are yellow to dark brown or black in colour. They have long spiny legs. The antennae are longer than the body. Their body is usually flat and broad so that they can squeeze into very tight gaps. Adults may or may not have wings. If they have, the wings are membranous with toughened forewings which overlap left over right. The head is small and pointing downwards, concealed under the pronotum. The cerci are conspicuous and segmented.
Most cockroach adults have wings but some species are wingless. In some species males are winded but females are wingless. For the winged species, they can fly although not very often. All cockroaches are very good runners.  Most of them are active at night although some are active during the day time.
Cockroaches are scavengers, they feed on almost everything. The have strong mouth parts. Some species eat wood and digest cellulose with symbiotic bacteria in their gut. They are usually found on plants (Ellipsidon, Methana), under bark (Laxta, ) on ground (Platyzosteria ) or under rotting wood (Panesthia)
Most cockroaches are nocturnal, usually they are found near the ground and hide under bark, logs or rocks in day time. Only a few, such as those in genus Ellipsidon, are active during the day. They usually found running on plants under bright sunlight. 
Cockroaches develop in in-complete metamorphosis. Nymphs look similar to adults but may be different in colours. The number of instars stages may be different in different species. 
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Cockroach ootheca                                              Nymph                                                                 Adult 
The eggs are laid in ootheca, or the egg sac. The ootheca are sometime seen attached to the end of the female abdomen until eggs are about to hatch.  The ootheca are than laid attached on leaves or tree trunk, depend on different species. Some cockroaches (Blaberidae) give birth to live young.
More details information about cockroaches can be found in this Cockroach Biology page. 
A few species of cockroaches have given the group a bad name. They transmitted diseases when they occur in house and restaurants. They contaminate food and must be controlled. 

Classification :

There are five cockroach families and three of them are common in Australia. Up to now we found three families and listed as follow. 


Family Blattidae
The well known pest cockroach, including the American Cockroach and Australian Cockroach are in this family. Members in this family are usually large in size.


Family Blattellidae
Some members in this family the females are wingless. Most are active at night. Cockroaches in this family are relatively smaller in size. There are some beautiful cockroaches in the family.
Family Blaberidae
Cockroaches in this family has shorter legs. Their cerci are very short or absent. Most of them live just under ground covers and slow moving. 

1. Insects of Australia, CSIRO, Division of Entomology, Melbourne University Press, 2nd Edition 1991, p320.
2. Grasshopper Country - the Abundant Orthopteroid Insects of Australia, D Rentz, UNSW Press, 1996, p211.
3. Northern Territory Insects, A Comprehensive Guide CD - Graham Brown, 2009.
4. Order BLATTODEA Cockroaches - 30 June 1997, A.M.E. Roach & D.C.F. Rentz, CSIRO Entomology, Australian Faunal Directory, Australian Biological Resources Study.
5. Blattaria - Cockroaches - Graeme's Insects of Townsville, Australia.
6. The cockroach genera Beybienkoa, gen. nov., Escala Shelford, Eowilsonia, gen. nov., Hensaussurea Princis, Parasigmoidella Hanitsch and Robshelfordia Princis (Dictyoptera : Blattaria : Blattellidae) - LM Roth, 1991, Invertebrate Taxonomy 5 (3) 553 - 716.
7. Cockroaches & Earwigs - Australian Wildlife, Insects, Lochman Transparencies.


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Cockroaches ] Family Blattidae ] Family Blattellidae ] Family Blaberidae ]


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Last updated: May 08, 2011.