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Jessi tries to convince you that cockroaches are cool! After the video I bet you'll agree that even though some can be pests, there's way more cool things about them then you knew.

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Hi guys, welcome back to Animal Wonders.

Insects are the most numerous animals on our planet. We've identified over eight hundred thousand species and scientists estimate there may be more like ten million species.

What makes them so successful is their diversity. Some of their adaptations are so extreme that they look like they came out of a sci-fi story. While all insects are interesting,.

Today I want to focus on just one group, and then one specific species. Today, let's talk about cockroaches. Most people aren't thrilled when they think about a cockroach.

And that's understandable, because lots of people have had to deal with them as pests. But I think cockroaches are awesome. Did you know that there are about four thousand species of cockroaches?

But only about about thirty species are considered pests. Most cockroach species live in niche habitats away from human populations. Which is probably a good thing, because some tropical species can get huge.

Some have four inch bodies, others have seven inch wingspans and there are even some that can weigh up to eighty-eight grams. Here's one of the larger species: the Madagascar Hissing Cockroach. I'm wearing a glove because recently.

I've become severely allergic to cockroaches but I still want to share them with you because I think they're really cool. These guys live on the forest floors of Madagascar and they make their living eating dead plants and animals and fallen fruit. Let's take a closer look at these guys.

First, you'll notice that they don't have any wings, like other species. And what you thought was their head is really the hard armor on their back. Their head is actually underneath, right here.

And here you can see their eyes and their antennae. Now, look at these two next to each other. Can you see the difference between their antennae?

The one on the left is thick and fuzzy, while the one on the right is skinny and smooth. Now, there's another between them too. Can you see it?

Check out these bumps. These raised portions are used like horns and only the males have them. They use them to fight for territory and access to females.

So this one with the fuzzy antennae and horns is a male, and his name is Rick. And this one with the smooth antennae and the smaller bumps is the female. Her name is Sue But do you know what's really neat?

Rick and Sue are descendants of cockroaches that lived hundreds of millions of years ago. Prehistoric cockroach fossils have been dated back to three hundred fifty million years ago. And modern day cockroaches date back to about two hundred million years ago.

During this time cockroaches have adapted to be the ultimate survivors. They can eat just about anything and they can survive without food for up to six weeks. They can do this because they have a secret sidekick.

Intercellular bacteroides live inside specific cells in every cockroach. And they're passed from mother to offspring. This bacteria produces all the amino acids and vitamins that the cockroach needs to survive.

So that's how cockroaches can live off foods that are lacking nutrients, like grease, or the glue on the back of a stamp. Cockroaches begin life as a little tiny egg that's often carried around inside the mother or deposited in a safe location. Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches like Sue, will carry thirty to sixty eggs inside her in a special case called an ootheca.

After about sixty day, the nymphs hatch out inside her body, and then she gives birth to live young. The babies molt six times before reaching maturity at seven months old. Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches are unusually long-lived insects with a lifespan of two to five years.

In order to reach five years old, they also have to survive by not getting eaten, so they use camouflage to blend in, but they also really like to hide, the smaller the space, the better. They are thigmotactic, meaning they feel most comfortable when their bodies are in contact with something solid, preferably from all sides. So maybe we should go hug a cockroach!

Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches have a unique way of interacting with each other. The males have a hierarchy which they establish by duking it out with their horns but they also have verbal communication too. It's pretty common for vertebrates to use their respiratory system to produce sounds.

Like birdsong, or human voices or hissing snakes. But most insects make noise by rubbing two body parts together, like crickets. Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches defy the rules and produce their sounds by expelling air our of their spiracles.

Spiracles are tiny holes that run along their body that they use to breathe. The males actually have three distinct hisses that they use for communication. They'll hiss at each other during battles and usually the louder hisser is the winner.

They also have a warning hiss that they do when they're startled. And they'll hiss to impress the ladies. It's even thought that they know the difference between familiar cockroaches and strangers.

Which is so cool! Speaking of neat behaviors, have you ever heard of the study done by Pavlov, where he would ring a bell just before feeding his dogs? Eventually, the dogs began associating the bell with food, and so they would start drooling when they heard it, because they thought food was coming.

Well, the same study was done on cockroaches and guess what happened? The cockroaches drooled too. When I watch our cockroach colony, I'm amazed by their little world.

Full of hierarchies determined by horn battles eating whatever they want, dramatic courtships and really, everyone just wants to be hugged. Getting to spend time with cockroaches in an unorthodox way like caring for and propagating a colony instead of viewing them as pests in my home has allowed me to see them in a different light. They're incredibly interesting and it makes me wonder what else there is to learn about other often overlooked species.

I can't wait to find out, and I hope you keep wondering too. If you'd like to go on an adventure with us every week subscribe to our YouTube channel Animal Wonders Montanna. And if you have any questions for me, you can leave them in the comments below and we'll see you next week.