Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Frosty cockroaches

With winter’s arrival comes the kind of news that may give New Yorkers the creeps. A species of cockroach never found in the United States before has been positively identified in Manhattan and even worse, this variety can survive not just indoors where it’s warm, but also outdoors in freezing temperatures. This species (Periplaneta japonica) is known in Asia, but was never confirmed in the United States.

The Asian species was first spotted in New York in 2012 by an exterminator working on the High Line, an elevated walkway and park on Manhattan’s West Side (see photo). These cockroaches looked different to him, so he sent the carcasses to the University of Florida for analysis. Researchers there used DNA Barcoding to confirm the presence of this new cockroach species. It is not clear how the cockroach arrived in New York City but it is suspected that one or more of the ornamental plants that are planted on the High Line arrived in soil that contained the new pest.

The original paper has been published in the Journal of Economical Entomology but I couldn't find it on their website yet. As soon as I discover a valid link I will share it through the comments.

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