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Distinguishing Periplaneta species


JohananV
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Hi There,

I am an insect enthusiast, who is just starting to get over the scary factor of cockroaches. I have noticed some, quite major, differences in the Periplaneta cockroaches in and around my house(Its next to impossible to keep them out of your house here), and I was wondering how one can distinguish between P. americana, and P. australasiae. Also, what is the largest recorded specimen of each species?

I am from South Africa, so I hope to add some interesting species to the hobby once I get going. I will be starting my colonies with some Periplaneta, so the information will be useful.

Thanks,

Johanan Viljoen

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P. americana and P. australasiae are quite different; P. americana has a yellow-ish pronotum with light brown/red markings and P. australasiae has a brighter yellow pronotum with dark/black markings. P. australasiae also has a light-colored border on the anterior edge of its wings, which P. americana does not have.

Based on your location you may also find P. brunnea. They are very difficult to tell apart from P. americana, but they are generally more stocky looking, have colorful nymphs, longer oothecae, and their cerci are wide when viewed from above.

The largest I've personally seen of either was a very large P. americana my family sent to me from Texas. It was roughly 5.5 cm long; nowhere near the "as big as your hand" stories you often hear about roaches but for an American cockroach it was huge!

Pictures of any roach species you find would be appreciated by all as well! :)

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Hello Zephyr,

Thank you for the information. Do you culture Periplaneta?

I believe that you are correct, after looking at photos, I believe that I have seen P. brunnea P. americana and P. australasiae.

The reason I asked about the size, is that we often see some very large specimens here. I've never actually measured, but I'm sure that some of them were at least 6CM long. Sometimes they seem bigger, but I think that has something to do with the fact that they love appearing on your pillow in the middle of the night. Would our subtropical conditions offer them an opportunity to grow larger than average?

Thank you for answering all my questions, and photoS are a must, I'll see what species I can find.

JV

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  • 5 months later...

Hi There,

I am an insect enthusiast, who is just starting to get over the scary factor of cockroaches. I have noticed some, quite major, differences in the Periplaneta cockroaches in and around my house(Its next to impossible to keep them out of your house here), and I was wondering how one can distinguish between P. americana, and P. australasiae. Also, what is the largest recorded specimen of each species?

I am from South Africa, so I hope to add some interesting species to the hobby once I get going. I will be starting my colonies with some Periplaneta, so the information will be useful.

Thanks,

Johanan Viljoen

I've never found roaches scary. Their nice brown, red and other colors and wavy antennae have always endeared me. Don't understand how they creep people out like spiders. Spiders DO creep me out. Maybe it's the extra set of legs, mainly because they're insidious and will bite you on contact. Anyway, I'm glad you're overcoming your fear whatever the reason was.
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