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Does anyone know why some roaches mimic the shape of beetles? ls it because the beetles they mimic aren't tasty to predators? What kind of beetles are Diploptera punctata trying to imitate? Or do they just happen to be beetle shaped that's why they are called "beetle mimics".

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Roaches that mimic beetles mimic warningly colored species that advertise their distaste to birds and other animals through bright colors. Two main examples are the Therea species that mimic various tortoise beetles and Paratropes species that mimic various Lycid beetles. The firefly roaches mimic foul tasting firefly beetles from SA but the color isn't a normal warning color. These are all most likely forms of Batesian mimicry where an edible species mimics a foul tasting or poisonous species for protection.

Diploptera punctata on the other hand exhibits Muellerian mimicry. It produces a foul secretion that smells exactly the same as the darkling beetle it mimics (it has it's own protection so both animals gain from the similar appearance).

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The very best beetle mimicking roaches are Prosoplecta from the Philippines. These are excellent mimics of distasteful ladybird beetles (Coccinellidae). Illustrations of some of the species can be found on pages 22 and 23 of issue 1 of Cockroach Studies. A pdf is available to download free from here:- http://www.blattodea-culture-group.org/node/802

I have been trying off and on for years to obtain livestock of Prosoplecta, with no luck so far! I don't know anyone who has ever kept them in captivity.

George Beccaloni

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.Does anyone know what island in the Phillipines that Prosoplecta comes from? I have found that to say something "comes from the Phillipines" is a suprisingly broad statement. My associate lives in Bacolod City and has seen Panesthia sp., and a few others, but not Prosoplecta. He would be willing to go find and photograph them if I could tell him what island(s) to look. I don't find any records of where exactly Prosoplecta have been identified via a web search.

Cheers,

Matt

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I should clarify: Prosoplecta are actually found in the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia (see my cockroach catalogue http://blattodea.speciesfile.org/HomePage.aspx), but most of the best mimics seem to come from the Philippines. The only Philippine islands they seem to have been recorded from are Mindanao and Luzon, although they are almost certainly found on others too.

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I have forwarded this info to a contact in the Phillipines to see if he can get me a digital photo of some wild roaches. May take a while, but hopefully he comes through.

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