Australian cockroach Periplaneta australasiae Fig 48b d

Adult males are 27-34 mm long and females are 28-32 mm long. The body is dark brown, and the pronotum has pale brown margins and a dark brown interior. Wings extend to or beyond the abdomen in males and females; the pale margin on the front wing extends to about one-third the length. Males have cerci and styli, but females lack styli. The male supraanal plate (epiproct) has thickened transverse ridges on the ventral surface. First-instar nymphs are predominantly brown, the mesonotum is lighter in color than the remainder of the body, and there are two white spots near the anterior margin of the metanotum. Late-instar nymphs are dark brown, with pale yellow spots on lateral margins of thorax and abdomen; the tip of the antenna is white.

The ootheca is about 10 mm long, blackish brown, with slight indication of the egg compartments. The ootheca contains about 24 eggs, and hatching occurs in about 40 days. Oothecae are produced at about 10-day intervals; fecundity is 20-30 oothecae. The ootheca is not turned on its side after it is formed and the keel remains upright; it is deposited within about 24 h after formation. Oothecae are cemented to the substrate by an oral secretion from the female, and small pieces of the substrate are usually attached to the surface. The female may gnaw a small hole in wood, cardboard, or similar material, then deposit the ootheca. Debris from the substrate is usually attached to the ootheca. Nymph development is through 9-i2 instars over 6-i2 months, depending on conditions and resources. When nymphs are reared alone, females have 11 or 12 instars and the development time is 306-365 days. Females reared in groups develop in 2i3 days, and males in 198 days. Adults live about 12 months, but 2 years is possible. Adults mate within 5 days of maturation, and females mate often.

Natural habitats include moist leaf litter in forested areas, beneath logs and stones, and in caves. Natural populations of this species are notknown. In the urban environment, itoccurs around the perimeter of buildings, and indoors in kitchens and other sites with available food, moisture, and harborage. It occupies similar habitats to P. americana, but does not occur in underground sewers. It was originally described in i775 as Blatta australasiae: the specific name referred to its known distribution at the time, which was in southern Asia and not Australia. It is probably native to the tropics or subtropics of Africa, but spread through ships and commerce to warm climates around the world. Among the Periplaneta, it is second in importance to P. americana as an outdoor and indoor pest. P. australasiae seems to prefers moist habitats with a somewhat higher temperature than that required for the development of P. americana. P. australasiae occurs in tropical and subtropical regions of the world, and is often introduced to and survives in sites in temperate regions, such as in greenhouses and other heated structures. In the USA is occurs in Florida and southeastern Texas, but there are outdoor and indoor populations in other southeastern states.

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