Megaloblatta blaberoides – an attractive roach in need of a common name

Las Cuevas Research Station, Chiquibul Forest, Belize. Photos by Dr. Bob Thomas. May 25, 2019.
Las Cuevas Research Station, Chiquibul Forest, Belize. Photo by Ella Hall. May 25, 2019.

Our Chiquibul experience is restricted to May, and we always encounter Megaloblatta blaberoides roaches in their nymph form. They are commonly encountered in the humid forest around the Maya ruins. They prefer being on the ground, but sometimes climb trees. In May 2016, we were joined by a tropical ecology class from Rice University in Houston. One student, Sam Gao, was studying roaches during his visit. He posted on the internet the following observation. While holding a Megaloblatta nymph, it exuded a sticky “glue” (his word) and issued a series of prolonged, rather loud hisses. Gao assumed this is a defensive behavior aimed at predators such as ants. He also noted finding a 6 inch adult black roach, which fits the description of this nympf’s adult.

Dr. Steven Brewer works the forests of Belize in his studies of Belizean trees, and he reports seeing these roaches in the Bladen Nature Reserve on the east side of the mountains.

This is the nymph of one, if not the, largest Neotropical roaches, as noted above to about 6 inches in length. What is really striking, though, is the large nymph with the orange abdominal spots and pasty white rump.

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