New 'super roach' can survive in cold

Published On: Dec 10 2013 10:57:03 AM EST
Updated On: Dec 10 2013 02:50:25 PM EST
Periplaneta japonica cockroach from New York

Lyle Buss, University of Florida, via Rutgers

New York residents are used to pesky, fearless and quick cockroaches invading spaces they shouldn't be. But now, New Yorkers have a new worry: a recently identified breed of "super roach" that's new to the city.

It is known as the Periplaneta japonica, a type of roach well documented in Asia, but never actually confirmed in the United States — until now. The roach was spotted on the High Line, an elevated park built along an old railroad spur in New York, by an exterminator in 2012. It was recently identified by scientists from Rutgers University, Dominic Evangelista and Jessica Ware.

If you're wondering how it got here, experts say it was likely a stowaway in the soil of plants that are used to line the elevated park. The roach made its way to the U.S. and reproduced.

To add to the horror, you know how regular cockroaches can survive pretty much anything? These guys have special powers as well: they can survive outdoors in the freezing cold.

Some were worried these cockroaches would mate with the ones already in New York and create a super bug of sorts. But, don't worry. Experts say it's impossible, as the gentalia of the two species don't "match."

"The male and female genitalia fit together like a lock and key. and that differs by species," Evangelista said.

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