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Conspecific grooming in Periplaneta americana


Zephyr
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While watching my Periplaneta americana "white eye" the other day I noticed one individual groom another's pronotum. I am unsure if the groomee was aware that he was being groomed but he did not flee, fight, or seem annoyed. I'm not sure if conspecific grooming has been recorded in roaches (other than termites of course) so this might be a baseline observation for some future studies!

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The next step is getting photographic or video evidence of these behaviors... It's also interesting to note that the Blattids (which includes Periplaneta and Eurycotis) are more closely related to termites than other roaches (with the exception of Cryptocercus of course!)

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I might be able to get a very low quality video of the Eurycotis floridana doing the behavior next time I catch them in the act. lol

If they are not doing that, then they are chasing eachother around in the container or maybe just doing laps or something. They are some of my most entertaining roaches.

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  • 4 weeks later...

My Periplaneta have done this as well. I never thought it was really that odd. I figured it was more of them cleaning for food, as in eating fungal spores or something similar. I don't imagine they are very conscious of a desire to clean another roach for relations, more for an easy small meal. I'd be curious to know a little more about this though.

The German cockroach has a ton of lab study done on it, has anyone ever read anything about them doing it?

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My Periplaneta have done this as well. I never thought it was really that odd. I figured it was more of them cleaning for food, as in eating fungal spores or something similar. I don't imagine they are very conscious of a desire to clean another roach for relations, more for an easy small meal. I'd be curious to know a little more about this though.

The German cockroach has a ton of lab study done on it, has anyone ever read anything about them doing it?

I think that the more interesting part of the interaction wasn't that one cockroach was performing the behavior, but that the other stood still for it. From what I've read this hasn't been recorded in Periplaneta but there very well could be a paper somewhere with this as a little side note or something along those lines. Maybe by Dr. Roth as he seemed to have a keen eye for these sort of things...

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have never seen this behavior in action, I'm a little jealous. I have only seen mine bite one another out of dominance. How "strong" of a social culture do they have? I pretty much assumed that there is always a dominant male and territory and breeding were the only things they cared about. Maybe they are not as simple as I thought. This is a very interesting subject that I would love more information on if someone could point me in the right direction .

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I have never seen this behavior in action, I'm a little jealous. I have only seen mine bite one another out of dominance. How "strong" of a social culture do they have? I pretty much assumed that there is always a dominant male and territory and breeding were the only things they cared about. Maybe they are not as simple as I thought. This is a very interesting subject that I would love more information on if someone could point me in the right direction .

I'd assume their social order is constantly in flux from one dominant roach to another. I've seen one roach dominate a particular spot for short periods of time but then relent moments later and group together with the others. I imagine they prefer to be in contact with surfaces and other roaches as a comfort thing and are less likely to remain territorial. Fighting over mating rights seems to be trivial and once the receptive female is mated, they all hang against each other again. Other than mating and food I rarely see conflict.

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Other than mating and food I rarely see conflict.

When I kept my Lucihormetica verrucosa in a smaller container, there was always the same male out and about. I never figured out why until I moved them to another container; there were 4 or 5 other males in the group "burrow" and apparently he was the odd one out. Other roaches with baseline social structures probably exhibit similar behaviors. I bet the Panesthia sp. have a lot to offer in this department but those are nonexistent in US cultures and probably understudied in the wild. :(

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When I kept my Lucihormetica verrucosa in a smaller container, there was always the same male out and about. I never figured out why until I moved them to another container; there were 4 or 5 other males in the group "burrow" and apparently he was the odd one out. Other roaches with baseline social structures probably exhibit similar behaviors. I bet the Panesthia sp. have a lot to offer in this department but those are nonexistent in US cultures and probably understudied in the wild. :(

That is odd; out of the verrucosa you sent me, there is still only one adult male, and he is almost always above ground. Maybe it's the dominant male that stays out?

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  • 4 months later...

I have never seen this behavior in action, I'm a little jealous. I have only seen mine bite one another out of dominance. How "strong" of a social culture do they have? I pretty much assumed that there is always a dominant male and territory and breeding were the only things they cared about. Maybe they are not as simple as I thought. This is a very interesting subject that I would love more information on if someone could point me in the right direction .

Depending on the species, they can have social traits. Keith mentioned his weaker male Dubias defend each other from the dominant. In an article I read long ago, I read females in some species care for their young, such as doing the insect-equivalent of breast feeding. Too long ago to remember the specific species, if mentioned. What kind do you have?

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