I have a great respect for cockroaches. I am not saying that I would want one as a pet, but I do respect them, as well as for their ability to survive in the most unlikely of conditions and treatment by humans. I certainly agree with the view that if, or when, the World is decimated by nuclear disaster, cockroaches will live on.
I remember writing a series of articles about cockroaches for a newspaper several years ago. It covered all facets of these fascinating creatures, including how tasty they can be if fried. Sadly, I received a few letters of complaint, as well as quite a few from interested chefs, so I will not go into too much detail here for fear of upsetting the delicate expat stomach once again.
My eye was drawn to a recent article about a species of cockroach that has recently invaded New York. Apparently these invaders are a species previously unseen in the US, which can withstand the harsh winter cold, as well as freezing conditions. This new and rather entertaining species, commonly known as Periplanetea Japonica (a name that sounds rather nice and floral) is quite common in Asia, but unseen in the US until recently. It is assumed that a few stowaways may have arrived in the US as illegal immigrants by stowing away in a few pot plants. Ingenious little things, aren’t they?
Sadly, the home species of cockroach in the US are less than happy, because the invaders will compete for their food, as well as space. Fortunately, experts predict that this will mean that the illegal immigrants will spend so much time in competing it will mean that they will have less energy to reproduce. Hmm, maybe these experts should think again. I am no expert, but I can think of many examples of other species, including the human race, whereby the breeding instinct becomes even stronger during difficult conditions, such as in the UK during particularly cold weather or in war torn areas of the world. The inclination to breed and to replace itself is an instinct that US biologists seem to have forgotten.
In any case, and on a more practical note, the biologists are quite sure that the new species will not breed with the local population and create some kind of ‘super species’ because ‘their genitalia fit together like a lock and key’ within the same species. The experts are so confident about this one that they explain it as being rather like fitting a Yale key into a Chubb lock, but I won’t go into detail. In any case, I am not convinced that they are right on this one either.
I remember that a few years ago when I was taking my dog, Bella, for a short walk, the entire road was covered with an army of many thousands of cockroaches. I have never seen so many gathered together in one place, and it was just like an invasion. I am told that they appear from their hiding places at times of crisis, such as during periods of intense heat or flood.
It was a particularly hot day and I guess they had all popped out for a spot of sun bathing. However, it was not such a good idea, because the sound of crunching that could be heard as vehicles swept by and skidded over them was not pleasant, although a few minutes later they had all disappeared. Bella, who is not the bravest dog on the island, was terrified, and so we headed home rather more quickly than usual. Yes, I really do think that cockroaches will one day rule the world.
If you enjoyed this article, take a look at Barrie’s websites: www.barriemahoney.com and www.thecanaryislander.com or read his latest book, ‘Escape to the Sun’ (ISBN: 9780957544444). Available as paperback, Kindle and iBooks. iPhone/iPad and Android Apps: ExpatInfo, CanaryIsle and CanaryGay now available.
© Barrie Mahoney
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