As if the usual cockroaches aren’t bad enough, insect biologists at Rutgers University have identified a cold-weather cockroach living in New York. According to NBC News on Dec. 9, the little bugger has never been seen in the U.S. before and it can tolerate freezing temperatures. The insect was found at High Line Park, the new 1-mile long park constructed on the former New York Central Railroad spur called the West Side Line.
Jessica Ware and Dominic Evangelista, the investigating Rutgers’ insect biologists stated that the species Periplaneta japonica is an Asian insect, well documented there but it has never been confirmed in the United States before. The Journal of Economic Entomology published there finding in which the scientists said it is too soon to tell what kind of impact the insect will have.
They are not too worried because this species which is similar to existing ones in NYC will have to compete with existing species which means they will have less time and energy to focus on reproducing.
The discovery should be monitored carefully, however. According to Michael Scharf, a professor of urban entomology at Purdue University, in order for a species to be considered “invasive,” it has to move in, take over and push out the original species. Currently there is little threat of that happening but scientists will be keeping an eye on the situation.
An exterminator working on the High Line was the first to spt the roach back 2012. The scientists believe it came in to NYC in the soil of some ornamental plants used in the park.
Ware concedes the roach can handle the freezing cold winters in New York but wonders how it will fair in the dirty snow the city is accustomed to. Evangelista adds that it is unlikely the new breed would mate with the old one. He says, “The male and female genitalia fit together like a lock and key, and that differs by species. So we assume that one won't fit the other."
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