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    (Click here to return to Creatures)


    Alien
    (Introduced)
    Common Name:Cockroach
    Big sucka in the sink
    Scientific:Periplaneta americana
    Size:1 to 3 inches long
    Color:Dark brown and disgusting
    Habitat:Sea level to 12,000 ft

    Cockroaches, can't live with them, can't live without them... and Hawai'i has some doozies. Unlike the more common German Cockroach (which you can also find in Hawai'i) the Periplaneta americana is one BIG cockroach.

    There are actually 19 different species of cockroach in Hawai'i - but the Periplaneta americana is the largest. These cockroaches normally are outdoors and come out at night. It is not uncommon in some areas to see the side of a building covered with 20 to 30 three inch long cockroaches.

    The Periplaneta americana will find its way indoors, especially during wet weather where it might be forced out of its normal ground habitat. As outdoor creatures they play an important role in the ecosystem by recycling fallen and dead vegetation. Indeed, given the prolific nature of plants in Hawai'i, if it were not for insects such as the cockroach we would be up to our eyeballs in vegetable debris.

    Having a Periplaneta americana in the house, or run over your foot while your driving, is another thing entirely. Nothing gives one the creeps more than seeing one or two of these in the house. They are certainly within the walls, even in the cleanest of homes. But when forced out due to weather or if looking for some food, they will come into the house (or car) itself. Even with their size, they can fit through just about any crack or opening so keeping a determined cockroach out is impossible. It is not uncommon to see these even in hotels, resorts or shopping malls, even though the establishment may spray constantly for insects.

    Unlike the fast moving German cockroach, the Periplaneta americana knows it is too big to run fast. They are slow and clumsy runners so it is easy to capture them. They hate sunlight and if startled by a light being turned on they will generally freeze and hunker down hoping you don't spot them. If you spot them, they will make a last ditch mad effort to get away, which succeeds about 5% of the time.

    Periplaneta americana lays egg sacks that are initially brown and them turn black within a few days. The egg sacks hatch in about 15 days with a typical brood of 10 to 15 very tiny youngsters. The egg sacks look amazingly like a coffee bean - just a bit smaller, darker and a bit more oval.

    Please note that in the advent of keeping this a family oriented website the Periplaneta americana you see photographed here, which decided to visit my kitchen sink one morning, was let outdoors and not killed. He's a lucky one.


    Long antenne on this 3 inch cockroach


    Closeup of head, eyes and markings


    Set free outdoors...
    this one gets away

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    Nene photo in top graphics by Brenda Zaun