A cockroach’s body is composed of three major body sections: head (front end), thorax (middle) and abdomen (back). A cockroach has the following anatomical features:
Eyes: Comprise of a thousand or more individual lenses, which allows them to see predators from multiple directions.
Sensory organs: Cerci are the two appendages found at the back of the animals, which can sense the smallest air changes. The legs of the cockroach are also sensitive to vibrations and touch which helps them avoid predators. The antennae (feelers) of the cockroach is used to smell.
Mouth: The mouth moves from side to side and can collect smell and taste.
Digestion: Salivary glands produce saliva which starts to break down food, which is the first stage of digestion. Cockroaches have a crop that stores food temporarily, before going into the stomach. Enzymes in the stomach break down food.
Fat stores: Fat bodies are located throughout the body, which store energy to be used as required.
Breathing: Insects due to their small size do not require a heart to circulate oxygen. Instead they have a series of internal tubes which diffuse oxygen throughout the body. The opening of these tubes are called spiracles and are generally located on the side of the cockroach’s body.
Exoskeleton: is the outside hard covering which protects the cockroach. Insects don’t have an internal skeleton like mammals, instead their body is supported by the outside (exo) skeleton. It comprises of segments which allows movement of the body.
Wings: Many species of cockroaches they have well developed wings which enables them to fly with positive lift. In other species (often ground or burrowing species) their wings are less well developed and they may not be able to fly, or can only fly downwards (a form of gliding).
Legs: All six legs are located on the thorax (middle section). At the end of the feet are very small suction pads and claws which can penetrate or stick onto many surfaces. This enables cockroaches the ability to climb many plastics and glass surfaces with ease.
© Zega Enterprises 2013 , © Photographs, diagrams and tables by Glenn Kvassay or as credited 2013