Many of these insects are pale brown but a few are olive-green. Darker brown markings are common, typically on the wings and pronotum. They often appear shiny. Both sexes usually have fully developed wings.

• LIFE CYCLE Adults and nymphs are scavengers. Females can be very fertile, breeding five to six times a year and producing about 40 eggs each time. In many species, eggs are carried in a case protruding from the abdomen, which is dropped to the ground just before they hatch.

• Occurrence

Worldwide, especially in warmer areas. In woodland litter, debris, garbage dumps, and buildings.

shiny body surface no wings pale side margins

A loboptera decipiens is a wingless species, found in Europe. It lives in leaf litter and under stones and bark.

long, threadlike

No. of species 4

► head tucked under pronotum

Cryptocercus punctulatus, the American Wood Roach, probably encompasses several separate species.

^ short, spiny legs coloration

ABlattella germanica, the German Cockroach, is a common pest of houses, kitchens, and stores. Females can produce thousands of eggs in a lifetime.

males and females fully winged

Megaloblatta longipennis, from Peru, Ecuador, and Panama, is the largest winged cockroach in the world. Its wingspan can measure up to 8in (20cm).

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