A scientist from Oregon State University has discovered a new cockroach species preserved in Dominican amber. That’s not it. It is also the first fossil cockroach to be discovered with sperm cells.
“It is highly preserved, with a yellow cross bar across the wings and a central, vertical, yellow stripe that appears to split the body into 2 parts,” said George Poinar Jr., emeritus professor in the OSU College of Science, sain in statement.
The 30-million-year-old cockroach is the only one of its kind, ectocbiid, discovered in amber from Dominican Republic. Which is remarkable because there are no surviving descendants in the Dominican Republic or the West Indies.
“It has long spines on its legs, especially the hind legs, which it uses for defence. “The sperm bundle including spermatozoa with dark acrosomes, structures covering the head of the sperm, is also of interest, because fossil sperm are rare,” Poinar said.
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Cockroaches are the world’s oldest pests, as is well known. According to Poinar, their extraordinary resilience allows them to survive in temperatures below freezing and to bear pressures of up to 900 times their own weight.
There are about 4,000 species of roaches crawling across the world. Thankfully, only 30 of them share a ‘home’ with humans. Unfortunately, they are all considered pests.
“So what caused these cockroaches to become extinct when they are so difficult to get rid of today?” Poinar wondered.
Poinar claimed that roaches are likely to contaminate the things they contact because they don’t care about walking through sewage or decaying stuff.
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“They are considered medically important insects because they carries human pathogens, including the bacteria that cause salmonella, staphylococcus & streptococci,” Poinar said. “They also harbor viruses. And apart from spreading pathogens and causing allergic reactions, their mere presence is very disturbing.”
Additionally, cockroaches have enzymes that shield their toxic substances. One of the reasons they are difficult to evict is because of this. Additionally, there is proof that they are becoming resistant to a variety of insecticides. Oh, how horrible.
“The difficulties of removing animals from house once they’ve established themselves can create a lot of stress,” Poinar explained. “Many people believe that entombed a cockroach in amber is the best place for it.”
Poinar, an international expert in exploiting plant and animal life forms trapped in amber to learn about the biology and ecology of the ancient past, recently discovered a new cockroach species.
Poinar’s findings were published in the journal Biologica.