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*** Note: KnowYourInsects.org does its best to include correct identifications of insect photos. It’s always possible that we made a mistake, however, so if you see a misidentification, please contact us and we will correct it. Thanks!

Order Blattaria: the roaches — Examples

Families represented below:
Blaberidae (the giant cockroaches) Blattidae (the blattid cockroaches) Ectobiidae (the wood cockroaches)

Blaberidae, (the giant cockroaches)

Central American Giant Cave Cockroach (Blaberus giganteus)
Central American giant cave cockroach, Blaberus giganteus, family Blaberidae.
□ The Central American giant cave cockroach earns its name as giant — males reach 7.5 cm long (3 inches) and females are even larger at 9 cm long (nearly 4 inches)! The brave person holding this cockroach is 8-year-old Anusha, who with her father’s help is putting together her own website dedicated to insect ecology and conservation. Great work, Anusha!
Submitted by: Anusha V. Location: Alley Pond Environmental Center (part of an insect program), Little Neck, New York. Date: 9 September, 2018.
Madagascar Hissing Cockroach (Gromphadorhina portentosa)
Madagascar hissing cockroach, Gromphadorhina portentosa, family Blaberidae.
□ This Madagascar hissing cockroach is well-named: it is native to Madagascar and it hisses! It makes the hissing sound through two of its spiracles, which are a series of small organs along the side of the abdomen. Like other insects, the cockroach inhales and exhales through the spiracles. Unlike other insects, the Madagascar Hissing Cockroach can blow air very strongly through two spiracles (the fourth pair on the abdomen) to make the hiss. This roach is in the hand of 8-year-old Vanusha, who has an interesting insect website here.
Submitted by: Anusha V. Location: Alley Pond Environmental Center (part of an insect program), Little Neck, New York. Date: 9 September, 2018.
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Blaberid Cockroach (Rhabdoblatta spp.)
Blaberid cockroach, female, in the genus Rhabdoblatta, subfamily Epilamprinae, family Blaberidae.
□ This female blaberid cockroach has a beautiful mottled pattern on her forewings. Species within this genus (Rhabdoblatta) are typically identified by characteristics of the male. This is a female.
Photographed by: Senrita Raksam Marak. Identified by: entomologist Leonid Anisyutkin of the Zoological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Thank you, Dr. Anisyutkin! Location: William Nagar, Meghalaya, India. Date: 25 June, 2019.
Beetle Mimic Cockroach (Blaberidae)
Beetle mimic cockroach, family Blaberidae.
□ This beetle mimic cockroach really does look like a beetle! One of the features that gives it away as a cockroach is the pair of short projections, called cerci, at the rear. It also has characteristic cockroach-like spined legs; long, thin antennae; and a flattened body perfect for scooting under a narrow opening.
□ Although it is in the family Blaberidae, which includes many large insects, this one is quite small. In the right photo, it is on the photographer’s finger.
Photographed by: Yanni Petropoulos. Location: mainland of southwest Greece. Date: 10 May, 2020.
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Ectobiidae, (the wood cockroaches)

Wood Cockroach in the genus Parcoblatta
Wood cockroach in the genus Parcoblatta, subfamily Blattellinae, family Ectobiidae.
Photographed and identified by: Leah McPherson. Location: Highland, MI, USA. Date: 27 July, 2016.
Says Leah, “It was less than 1/2" and the only one in sight.... I found it this afternoon on a patio chair.”
Pennsylvania Wood Cockroach (Parcoblatta pennsylvanica)
Pennsylvania wood cockroach, Parcoblatta pennsylvanica, subfamily Blattellinae, family Blattidae.
Pennsylvania wood cockroaches and other species in this genus are common outdoor insects. Occasionally they’ll come inside on firewood or in a potted plant that gets moved indoors — and sometimes they just wander in accidentally — but they’re almost never an issue indoors.
Photographed by: Suzy Crawford. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Waterford, Michigan, USA. Date: 31 July, 2017.
Suzy says, “I find these in my flowers and in grass around my flower beds! Sometimes they are running across my porch or on the screen door.”
Pale-Bordered Field Cockroach (Pseudomops septentrionalis)
Pale-bordered field cockroach, also known as a Firefly Roach, Pseudomops septentrionalis, subfamily Blattellinae, family Ectobiidae.
□ The pale-bordered field cockroach is quite an attractive small cockroach, reaching 0.5-0.6 inches (1.2-1.5 cm) long. It munches on plant leaves and flower petals.
Photographed by: Bonnie O'Barr. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Pineburst, Texas, USA. Date: 14 August, 2019.
Bonnie says, “I have only seen this bug a handful of times, a few times in my raised garden and a couple times on my hibiscus plants on the porch.”
Asian Cockroach (Blattella asahinai)
Cockroach in the genus Blattella, subfamily Blattellinae, family Ectobiidae.
Asian cockroaches look almost identical to German cockroaches (Blattella germanica). The silhouette of the wings suggests it may be an Asian cockroach. The photo at right gives a good look at the spiny legs, as well as the two cerci, which are the pair of spiky extensions sticking up from the tip of the abdomen.
□ Asian Cockroaches tend prefer to be outside in mulch or rotting wood, whereas German Cockroaches are more than happy to live indoors.
Photographed by: Crystal Baerwaldt. Identified to tentative species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: California, USA. Date: 30 December, 2020.
Crystal found this insect in a bathtub.
Spotted Mediterranean Cockroach (Ectobius pallidus)
Spotted mediterranean cockroach (also known as tawny cockroach), nymph, Ectobius pallidus, subfamily Ectobiinae, family Ectobiidae.
□ This is a nymph (immature) of a spotted Mediterranean cockroach. When it grows into an adult, it will get full-length wings that extend back to cover the abdomen.
Photographed and identified to order by: Janice H. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Bloomfield Hills, MI, USA. Date: 13 October, 2016.
Says Janice, “We have an old raised rock patio and I think they’re living underneath close to the house. We live near woods and water and I have seen the weirdest bugs ever around our house.”

Blattidae, (the blattid cockroaches)

Cockroach (Thyrsocera spectabilis)
Cockroach, Thyrsocera spectabilis, subfamily Blattinae, family Blattidae.
□ This gorgeous cockroach looks more like a broach than a roach. The photographer, Amirul Zahil, did some research and came up with the identification as Thyrsocera spectabilis. That was an especially difficult task, because so little information or photos are available of this species or this genus. Great work, Amirul! For more information on this cockroach, click here.
Photographed and identified by: Amirul Zahil. Location: Penang Hill, Malaysia. Date: 17 February, 2019.
Smoky Brown Cockroach, Periplaneta fuliginosa
Smoky brown cockroach, nymph, Periplaneta fuliginosa, subfamily Blattinae, family Blattidae.
Photographed and identified by: Anonymous. Location: Wilmington, North Carolina, USA. Date: 15 February, 2017.
Anonymous says, “This bug seems to have come from a salad from a restaurant... No words for how gross it is!” KnowYourInsects says, “Yep, cockroaches do love people food!”

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Photos at the top of this website are (from left to right): potato beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata) — photo credit: Scott Bauer, U.S. Department of Agriculture; ebony jewelwing (Calopteryx maculata)— photo credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; sweat bee (Agapostemon splendens) — photo credit: Natalie Allen and Stephanie Kolski, U.S. Geological Survey; preying mantis, monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus), hellgrammite (aka toe biter) larva and eyed click beetle (Alaus oculatus) — photo credit: Leslie Mertz; Halloween pennant (Celithemis eponina) — photo credit: Kay Meng, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

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