Living With Tergal Glands

tergal glands

Male cockroaches lift wings exposing tergal glands while a female cockroach feeds.

Male cockroaches of many species have glandular secretions that have a role in mating. Male German Cockroaches, Blatella germanica, have depressions on the top of the seventh and eighth segments of the abdomen (tergites) that form a reservoir. Underneath the reservoir is a gland that secretes a variety of small and large molecules into the reservoir. During courtship, a male cockroach will raise its wings, offering the contents to a female cockroach. If courtship is successful, the female will climb on the male and begin feeding from the glands. This behavior aligns the male and the female so mating can proceed.

The tergal gland secretions are potent feeding stimulants. In crowded cockroach colonies, juvenile cockroaches have also been observed feeding on the gland secretions. Studies of the gland secretions may lead to improved pesticide baits that stimulate cockroaches to feed.

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
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