are cockroaches smart

are cockroaches smart
Cockroaches have long been viewed as dirty, disgusting pests that are easy to hate. Even the word “roach” is often used to describe someone who is sneaky and untrustworthy. Cockroaches are among the most successful insects on Earth. They can be found everywhere from tropical rainforests to your home. In fact, there are more than 4,000 known species of cockroaches roaming planet Earth. These hearty little insects can even survive a nuclear blast! In spite of their reputation and appearance, scientists have found that many roach species exhibit surprising levels of intelligence and resourcefulness in their day-to-day lives. Here are 10 facts about cockroaches that you may not know. Read on to learn more about these unappreciated arthropods…
Cockroaches are fast learners
Cockroaches are extremely quick learners compared to other insects. Scientists have discovered that roaches can be trained to avoid certain foods, can learn to move away from light and can even be trained to run towards light in order to escape a dark space where they were held captive. In fact, researchers have discovered that some roach species can even learn to avoid electricity! By putting a low, pulsating current on a roach’s abdomen, scientists have found that the insects can be trained to avoid that electric current. In experiments, roaches trained with the electric current avoided the source of the voltage even when the current was removed. The scientists think this is the first-ever example of an animal learning to avoid an electrical current.
Roaches can recognize people and other animals
Scientists have discovered that roaches can recognize individual people and other animals. In lab experiments, roaches who were held captive with a scientist were later found to be more likely to avoid that person than another individual. This leads researchers to believe that the roaches were using visual recognition in order to distinguish between people. If a roach is trained to avoid a specific person, that roach will also be less likely to avoid that person’s dog or cat. This suggests that roaches may be using scents and not just visual cues to recognize other people.
Cockroaches use visual recognition to recognize smells
Roaches rely heavily on scents to identify and communicate with one another. However, scientists have discovered that roaches can also use visual cues in order to recognize different scents. If one roach is exposed to a scent, it will later be able to visually recognize that scent and communicate that information to other roaches. This occurs because roaches use two separate scent receptors – one for scents they smell with their antennae and one for scents they smell with their legs. Because these two receptors are processed in different parts of the cockroach’s brain, the scents are combined into single “hybrid” scents that use both sensory pathways. This visual recognition of scents allows roaches to communicate to each other which scents they’ve smelled and that the scents are ones they should avoid.
Cockroaches use scents to navigate
Researchers have discovered that roaches use scents to navigate. In fact, bugs in general use scent trails to travel from one place to another. And just as humans use road signs to navigate, roaches use pheromones to mark their trails and direct other bugs along the way. If you trap a roach in a glass jar, it will attempt to escape by moving towards the source of a scented trail on its body. In experiments, scientists placed a scented trail on one side of a glass jar and a non-scented trail on the other side. When the roaches were placed inside the jar, they were more likely to move towards the scented trail.
Roach communication is sophisticated
Scientists have found that roach communication is more sophisticated than previously thought. Not only do roaches use visual and olfactory cues to communicate with each other, they also use touch. Roaches will use touch to communicate their genders and what they eat. Males often touch each other to let other males know they are male. Females will touch each other to let other females know they are female. If one female roach touches another female roach who is eating something other than food from a plant, that other female roach will switch what she is eating. Perhaps this is a way for roaches to regulate their diets. This sophisticated communication can go both ways. When one roach is distressed, it releases a pheromone that can be sensed by other roaches. This distress pheromone can be detected by other roaches up to a mile away! This distress pheromone can be used to warn other roaches of dangers like the presence of a predator.
Roaches exhibit empathy
Scientists have observed that roaches exhibit empathy. In lab experiments, researchers placed two roaches side-by-side. One of the roaches was hurt, while the other roach remained unharmed. When researchers applied an electric shock to the first roach, the unharmed roach would later release an empathetic pheromone. This pheromone indicated that the unharmed roach was feeling distressed by the pain of the other roach. In fact, this empathetic pheromone can be sensed by other roaches up to two miles away. This discovery may shed light on the evolution of empathy, since roaches are not mammals.
Roaches exhibit autonomy and independence
Researchers have noticed that roaches exhibit autonomy. In other words, roaches have the ability to make their own decisions and are not completely reliant on other roaches. In a lab experiment, scientists removed the antennae from one roach and placed both roaches together in a jar. When the antennae-less roach was given an option to leave the jar, it stayed put and waited for the other roach to leave first. This means that even though the two roaches were together, the antennae-less roach was still making its own autonomous and independent decisions.
Cockroaches are complex, fascinating insects that are often unfairly maligned. In spite of their unsavory reputation and appearance, scientists have discovered that roaches exhibit surprising levels of intelligence and resourcefulness in their day-to-day lives. If you’ve ever wondered why roaches are so successful, it might be because they’re smarter than we think. Roaches have been around for millions of years, thriving in almost every environment on the planet. It’s time to re-evaluate our view of these insects and recognize their worth as fascinating creatures in their own right.