Living With Blatella


Female German Cockroach with Ootheca (egg case) protruding from her abdomen

Three adventive (non-native) species of cockroach in the Genus Blatella can be found in North America. The most widespread is the German cockroach, a common pest ubiquitous throughout the US. The German cockroach is considered a peridomestic species; It only thrives in close association with humans and human structures. Blatella vega, the field cockroach was introduced into California from Asia. It is common in dry irrigated areas of the Southwest US, (CA, AZ, NM, TX) and only occasionally enters structures, typically in search of water.

Blatella asahinai is a pest species that was introduced into Florida during the late 20th Century and has since spread to neighboring states and across the southern US. In the field, adult Blatella asahinai can be readily distinguished from the German cockroach: Blatella asahinai flies, the German cockroach does not. Immatures, which are often the most numerous individuals require chemical or molecular markers to reliably identify to species. Before DNA barcoding and other DNA-based techniques had been developed, Carlson and Brenner* developed method to use cuticular hydrocarbon differences to distinguish species of Blatella. This method of ID was the best in its day, but chemical methods have been widely replaced by DNA methods that are more rapid and less expensive than chemical methods.

D. A. CARLSON AND R. J. BRENNER. 1988. Hydrocarbon-Based Discrimination of Three North American Blattella Cockroach Species (Orthoptera: Blattellidae) Using Gas Chromatography. Ann. Entomol. Soc. Am. 81(5): 711-723.

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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One Response to Living With Blatella

  1. Pingback: Living With Blatella | Entomo Planet

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