Researchers in Belgium have discovered that cockroaches have personalities. At the Universite Libre de Bruxelles scientists tested the behavior of the American cockroach by strapping microchips on 300 roaches and placed them in an arena of bright light. Because cockroaches have developed an aversion to light, they were observed in order to see how quickly they sought shelter. Roaches that immediately went under the cover of a dark circle were considered cautious, while the ones that explored the arena were considered to be more daring.
Scientists also observed the cockroaches to see how they sought shelter. If all cockroaches had the same undifferentiated personality then they would exhibit identical behavior. Researcher Isaac Planas-Sitja reported that the cockroaches’ “amazing ability to reach a consensus could be explained by the bugs affinity for protection of the group. The cockroaches that sought shelter sooner could have been signaling to others what to do,” he said.
Continued collaboration and research could explain the cockroaches’ apparent inability to die out. Some explore the group’s surroundings while others hang back to see if it’s safe. Further research could also explain how so many roaches can invade a cramped New York City apartment at once. Cockroaches have no queen or solitary leader. This, in turn, suggests they have no followers either. They are individuals able to make their own decisions just like us.
This research has uncovered, once again, what extraordinary insects cockroaches are. Cockroaches are very resilient and exhibit odd behaviors and survival methods. For example, cockroaches spend 75% of their time resting and can withstand temperatures as cold as 32 degrees Fahrenheit. A cockroach can live for a week without its head. Because of an open circulatory system and the fact that they breathe through holes in each of their body segments, they do not need a mouth or head to breathe. Most cockroaches can hold their breath for 40 minutes. They can survive being submerged for half an hour. A cockroach can run up to three miles in an hour, which means spreading germs and bacteria throughout a home can happen quickly.