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Blaberus giganteus is commonly known as the Giant Cockroach and is the largest neotropical cockroach by weight (Schal 1983). B. giganteus is found in the order of Blattodea and is characterized as having a flattened, oval shape body, leathery forewings, expansive hindwings, cerci, long legs that are adapted for running, and ootheca (Brusca, 1990).The Giant Cockroach shows sexual dimorphism. Females are slightly larger than the males but the approximate B. giganteus size is 7.5 cm long. In addition, this cockroach lives for an average of 2 years. B. giganteus is hemimetabolous, meaning that they go through three morphological changes as their age progresses; egg, nymph and adult. The nymphys look similar to the adult B. giganteus but are morphologically less developed.(Rasplus and Roques 2010). B. giganteus is found in neotropical regions and found occupying hollow trees, caves, and decomposing logs (Rasplus and Roques 2010). It is important to note that B. giganteus populations share these hollow tree and cavernous habitats with other animals such as bats, other arthorpods, and opossums (Janzen 1983). Bats are particularly important because they play a role in the oviposition of the female B. giganteus (Janzen 1983). Ovoviviparous B. gigantus cockroaches are supplied with an abundant food source, guano, from the bats that share the hollow trees and caves.

The B. giganteus species displays social and territorial behavior. The structure of a hollow tree allows for the territorial cockroaches to disperse throughout the tree and develop a hierarchy. According to Schal, hierarchy is displayed by the location of the perching site an individual B. giganteus obtains (Schal1983). Dominant males are perched in higher locations than less dominate males. As population size increases the amount of available perching sites decreases and more cockroaches attempt to cluster in the desirable perching locations; as a result competition increases. It is not known whether the higher perching location results in a higher success rate with receptive females (Janzen 1983). One example of B. giganteus oviposition occurs on the ground near guano. As a result, the females are moving upward from the base of the hollow tree once they become receptive. When this upward movement of the females is occuring males are more likely to find a receptive female towards the base of the tree (Janzen 1983).

B. giganteus is a nocturnal species that is found in moist conductions. During the day these cockroaches are generally not active and seek dry conditions and protected locations. As an adaptive mechanism, B. giganteus can burrow in response to an attack from a predator (Janzen 1983). Army ants are one example of B. giganteus predator and are known to invade the hollow tree habitats B. giganteus occupy. Blattodea cockroaches are scavengers and are known to eat the organic materials on the forest floor (Rasplus and Roques 2010). The Giant Cockroach specifically is a scavanger and also an omnivore.



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