New Wood-eating Cockroach Species Found in China
Chinese scientists have found a new species of cockroach, and a new subspecies. Unlike the cockroach pests that most of us are familiar with, these live outdoors and eat wood.
The new species and subspecies are described in the journal ZooKeys.
Nearly 4,600 species of cockroach are found worldwide, but only 30 or so are considered to be pests, which gives the others a bad name. The new species and subspecies belong to the genus Panesthia, which is known for xylophagy (feeding on wood) instead of living in houses and eating rubbish.
The new species, Panesthia guizhouensis, was collected from rotten wood near a large pool in Guizhou Province. A colony of more than 60 nymphs and 52 adults emerged from a log when it was split.
The new subspecies is called Panesthia stellata concava. The specific epithet is derived from the Latin word “concavus,” which refers to the hind margin of the yellowish mark on nymphs being concave.
Fifty-five species and nine subspecies have been reported in this genus, but they are still mysterious to scientists because of their secluded lifestyle.
“With this new discovery, we hope to reignite the scientific interest towards this peculiar and rather intriguing cockroach genus,” said Dr. Yanli Che, one of the co-authors.
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