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Do cockroaches have hunting behavior?


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One of my friends said that his Macropanesthia rhinoceros ate up a moth pupa several days ago. I also read some articles on the Internet which said that cockroaches can control bedbugs by eating them. So I wonder whether cockroaches have hunting behavior or not. Or is that just because the Macropanesthia rhinoceros considered the moth pupa as a dead insect and the cockroaches can't hunt bedbugs but just eat up the dead bedbugs?

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As far as I can see, roaches aren't hunters. I believe as with rodents, roaches eat other insects when no other food is available or just when they encounter them randomly. They are primarily scavengers.

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As far as I can see, roaches aren't hunters. I believe as with rodents, roaches eat other insects when no other food is available or just when they encounter them randomly. They are primarily scavengers.

So you meant that cockroaches are like rodents and crickets, can eat insects they meet, but don't go to find insects on purpose. Right?

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That's quite a generalization. Your'e talking about an entire order of insects here. Sure, they mostly all look the same in body shape, but it's likely that their diets vary quite a bit. Maybe there are obscure cockroaches only known from museum specimens that look like every other roach, but in life they have an almost completely predacious diet? Bear in mind that both termites and mantises, two groups of insects that couldn't possibly be more different in lifestyle and appearance, are both related to cockroaches.

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That's quite a generalization. Your'e talking about an entire order of insects here. Sure, they mostly all look the same in body shape, but it's likely that their diets vary quite a bit. Maybe there are obscure cockroaches only known from museum specimens that look like every other roach, but in life they have an almost completely predacious diet? Bear in mind that both termites and mantises, two groups of insects that couldn't possibly be more different in lifestyle and appearance, are both related to cockroaches.

Yes two of the close relatives of cockroach are mantis and termite; but they're not equally related. Mantodea is a sister group of Blattodea, ie they share the same ancestor. While termites are true Blattodean; they're called termite not eusocial cockroach merely because when people name them they've got no idea that these are the same group of animals.

That is why you see a lot of subsocial and wood boring cockroach, while there's no true predacious cockroach.

Cockroaches will intake animal protein source occasionally, as well as termites (for termite, in most cases it's their nestmates). But instead of hunting they take advantage of dead, injured or immobile animals such as pupae. They also chew on other roaches if they're overcrowded or starved, but I've never seen them hunt and kill any preys.

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Correct. That's one reason roaches are so appealing to me is that at least with the common species, they aren't bloodthirsty like spiders. Of course, I'm not a scientist. Just a sentimental insect/animal lover.

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Ok, so mantises didn't actually evolve from cockroaches. Why does that mean there can't be predacious cockroaches?

I'm not saying "there can't be", just a very small chance there're true predacious roach.

The whole Blattodea group are scavengers and rely heavily on gut symbionts to break down cellulose, which lead to the evolution of wood-eating and eusocial eventually. If there's a predacious species out there it means that it will have to evolve carnivorous adaptions totally independently; so there's a small chance you'll see true carnivorous roach. But I'll be excited if anyone find one :P

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I'm not saying "there can't be", just a very small chance there're true predacious roach.

The whole Blattodea group are scavengers and rely heavily on gut symbionts to break down cellulose, which lead to the evolution of wood-eating and eusocial eventually. If there's a predacious species out there it means that it will have to evolve carnivorous adaptions totally independently; so there's a small chance you'll see true carnivorous roach. But I'll be excited if anyone find one :P

I found that cockroaches which live in the cities are very omnivorous species. Do they also rely on gut symbionts?

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  • 5 months later...

I know I'm kinda reviving an older thread but my orange head roaches seem to be really quite effective predators and eat pretty much any bug that's not an orange head roach I throw in there including crickets, hissers, dubia nymphs, and the ocassional spider. They kinda just all nibble at the still living bug until it's been eaten and if it's something small they can overpower like a cricket they hold it in their front limbs kinda like a mantis.

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My dubias do the thing where they ' hug' their food with their front legs as well. They only do it to earthworms, chunks of cat food and other animal- based items so I think it's a clear attempt to capture and restrain food that could try to escape.

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I will take a video of one of my orange heads catching and eating a cricket next time I can it's really pretty cool and definitely predatory capturing and dispatching of prey. Also I think your observation of dubia roaches hugging animal based foods is pretty cool though unlike my orange heads I can't seem to get my dubia roaches to kill and eat other bugs they kinda just ignored the crickets I offered them in response to this thread.

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  • 1 month later...
  • 1 year later...

I've got a video I'll post eventually of my orange head roaches chasing after isopods and banana roaches. It is bizarre to see, but they are pretty efficient at catching other bugs. The banana roaches that escaped for a while were not consumed, I think they start to smell like the orange head colony.

Actually, I think this thread might have been the reason I got the orange heads. They are fun roaches.

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The orange head's predatory actions could be partially due to moisture level in the tank, though I doubt it. 
Orange Head roaches also enjoy meat much more than other species do so that could factor into it too.
overall I think most species of roach would eat a cricket simply because they are given the chance to do so. I don't think that they would go out of their way completely to find and eat other inverts if they were in the wild.

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