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New cockroach species aka Periplaneta japonica discovered in NYC

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A new species of cockroach has been discovered in New York. The cold-loving Periplaneta japonica insect, a native of Japan, was found in New York City's High Line in 2012. Researchers published a study on Monday which said that the new Asian cockroach could pose a problem for New Yorkers because it thrives in the cold, while the native species goes dormant, according to a Dec. 9 NBC News report.

The hardy cockroach was discovered in New York's Meat Packing district by an exterminator, who was checking bait stations in a garden built on an old railway. A search in mulch below the garden produced more of the critters, which were sent away to the University of Florida's Insect Identification Laboratory for testing.

Periplaneta japonica was given a tentative nod, but to confirm the discovery of the new cockroach species, scientists sent the specimen to Rutgers, where a positive identification was made.

It appears the odd creature has its own built-in anti-freeze, which allows it to thrive on the snow for long periods of time, unlike its native cousin.

Can the native cockroach mate with the newly-discovered japonica species? Thankfully not; that would be a bit challenging to scientists because that would mean another mutant insect is on the loose.

Cockroaches have really cool genitalia. They're asymmetric and they're really complex," said Dominic Evangelista, one of the study authors from Rutgers, who published their work on the Asian cockroach in the Journal of Economic Entomology.

Invasive species of cockroaches from Asia likely made it to the United States through imports of soil and other plant products. Additionally, they could have hitched a ride on an unsuspecting traveler's luggage. In short, exotic or non-native insects like the winter cockroaches are brought here deliberately or mistakenly.

With the introduction of new species of insects, there's always concerns about viruses, bacteria, and how much of a threat the bugs are to native species, property, and humans.

Although the new cockroach species was targeted with insecticides by the New York exterminators, study authors say it's likely Periplaneta japonica bugs are still out there.


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