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New cockroach from Asia found in Manhattan, gives New Yorkers the creeps

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A new cockroach species, never found in the United States before, was discovered in Manhattan and the new cockroaches are giving New Yorkers the creeps. Unlike the cockroaches that New Yorkers are used to, this new cockroach species can survive not just indoors where it’s warm, but also outdoors in freezing temperatures. “One recent study showed that New York City's cockroach population mirrors the neighborhoods of the city's human population,” reported NBC News on Dec. 9, 2013.

The new cockroach species, called Periplaneta japonica, was for the first time discovered last year by an exterminator in rodent-bait stations at the High Line public garden, built on an old railway line in Manhattan's Meatpacking District.

After the first discovery, more members of the new cockroach species were found in mulch piles and under the boardwalk of High Line garden.

Unsure of what kind of cockroaches the exterminator was dealing with, he sent some examples of the new species to the University of Florida's Insect Identification Laboratory. Eventually, bug experts at Rutgers University confirmed via DNA barcoding that this was in fact Manhattan’s latest new immigrant from Asia.

One of the researchers involved in positively identifying the new cockroach said that the Periplaneta japonica most likely entered the country on imported plants, soil, or maybe as egg cases on people’s luggage.

While New Yorkers generally welcome new immigrants, this kind of hitchhiker and new addition to New York’s population creeps people out. Cockroaches are not supposed to like the cold and go into hiding during the winter.

But this kind of new cockroach is cold resistant, reported the Journal of Economic Entomology on Monday.

“’About 20 years ago, colleagues of ours in Japan reared nymphs of this species and measured their tolerance to being able to survive in snow,’ said Ware, who is an assistant professor of biological sciences at Rutgers-Newark. ‘As the species has invaded Korea and China, there has been some confirmation that it does very well in cold climates, so it is very conceivable that it could live outdoors during winter in New York. That is in addition to its being well suited to living indoors alongside the species that already are here’.”

What a new concept to globalization, having a mixture of already existing cockroaches combined with new cockroaches. And if battling the bugs indoors isn’t enough, how about finding the cold-resistant cockroaches while walking in winter wonder land in Central Park.

As of now, scientists doubt that the new cockroaches will cross bread with New York’s already existing cockroaches. However, the thought of finding one of those cold-resistant new cockroaches in a snowball thrown in your face – what a creepy thought.



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