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The ootheca aka roach egg

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by The Bug Doctor

Have you ever seen what you thought was a really weird roach that had something sticking out the back of it that looked like a small briefcase? Well what you most likely saw was what an entomologist would call an ootheca but round here we just call it an egg. How strange that the roach actually carries that thing around. Actually she doesn’t so much carry it as it is still attached and the precious cargo inside can still get nutrients and critical moisture from the mother. This attachment also allows for the ultimate protection rather than just leaving it somewhere that a hungry bird or insect predator could get it. True some roaches do drop their eggs or ‘cement’ them to a wall or other surface and still others have no egg at all. The babies develop inside the uterus and feed off the yolk and other junk inside the mom.Yummy.

Now when I say egg, what I really mean is a casing that sometimes many eggs are contained inside-remember I’m a simple man. ThePicture 31 300x151 The ootheca aka roach egg german roach carries her egg till the babies hatch and at times you can have 50 cute little babies come out of one egg case. The larger roaches such as american or oriental won’t have so many kids, only 15 or so if all goes well and both of these roaches are those who drop their eggs.

Other than the principle of fight or flight (flight being the operative word) or dropping the ootheca in a somewhat protected spot roaches won’t necessarily defend the brood. Madagascar hissing roaches have been observed to cover their young as protection and german roach females seeking seclusion close to hatching time and the babies tending to stay away from adult males so they don’t become a meal but once out most baby roaches are on their own.

Depending on the species gestation period a female will produce many offspring in her lifetime. If conditions are right the american roach female can produce somewhere around 800. The oriental is not so prolific and does only about 150 or less. The queen of all Picture 32 150x150 The ootheca aka roach eggroaches, the german cockroach out does them all in terms of offspring and descendants even though she may produce less actual oothecas. If you were to do the math and all conditions were favorable and say only 1/2 of the babies in a german roach egg case were female. You would end up with 15,000 german roaches (approximately) in her lifetime of 6 to 9 months and the numbers would become astronomical from then on.

So the next time you see an odd looking roach running across your counter with a suitcase, grab some clean towells and some warm water. You got some babies to deliver.


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