Let’s Give A Warm Welcome To NYC’s New Winter-Proof Cockroach

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Dominic Evangelista and Jessica Ware in the insect lab on the Rutgers-Newark campus. (Rob Forman)

Great news for bored New Yorkers looking to spice up their cockroach life: a new species of roach has been discovered in Manhattan, and this one isn’t fazed by cold weather. The hearty new species Periplaneta japonica was discovered last year by an exterminator on the High Line; like most everyone else in that perpetually crowded elevated park, it ain’t from around here. The exterminator immediately knew there was something special about it, so he sent several carcasses to the University of Florida for analysis.

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This male (left) and female of the species Periplaneta japonica were found the High Line in 2012. (Lyle Buss, Univ. of Florida)

Rutgers insect biologists Jessica Ware and Dominic Evangelista were subsequently brought in to study the samples, and they concluded that the roach is common in Asia but has never been spotted in the U.S. “About 20 years ago colleagues of ours in Japan reared nymphs of this species and measured their tolerance to being able to survive in snow,” Ware tells Rutgers Today. “As the species has invaded Korea and China, there has been some confirmation that it does very well in cold climates, so it is very conceivable that it could live outdoors during winter in New York. That is in addition to its being well suited to live indoors alongside the species that already are here.”

Awesome, indoor-outdoor roaches. But before you surround the perimeter of your bed with glue traps, there’s a slight sprinkle of good news: these imported roaches’ weird foreign genitals don’t fit together with the normal genitals of our local roaches, so it’s unlikely they’re going to mate to produce mutant Godzilla-Sasquatch hybrid monster roaches. We’re just going to have tougher roaches now. Whatever; at this point we’ll take anything that isn’t bed bugs.

h /t – gothamist

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