Are Cockroaches Nocturnal? – Danielle’s Student Essay

How can I draw your attention to the interesting (and somewhat creepy-crawly) topic of cockroaches? What if I told you that a cockroach carries and spreads about thirty-three different kinds of bacteria, causes allergies and asthma attacks mostly in children, lives two weeks without water and one month without food, survives one week without its head (no joke), and holds its breath for up to forty minutes (Cockroach Information for Kids: Cockroach Facts for Kids, n.d.)? 

Okay, now you probably just slammed your computer shut and started looking around those warm, dark, and wet areas in your house just in case a little brown creature with antennas decided to camp out and bring its friends! But before you start feeling like something is crawling on you (as I do now) and before I answer the question of this essay, let’s begin with some cockroach background information.

Cockroaches belong to the phylum Arthropoda that includes “insects, spiders, scorpions, centipedes, and millipedes on land; crabs, crayfish, shrimp, lobsters, and barnacles in water” (Phylum Arthropoda | Manoa.Hawaii.Edu/ExploringOurFluidEarth, n.d.). Several of the species in this family share the characteristics of hard exoskeletons made of chitin (a fibrous substance of polysaccharides) and jointed appendages that allow for “eating, feeling, sensing, mating, respiring, walking, or defense” (Phylum Arthropoda | Manoa.Hawaii.Edu/ExploringOurFluidEarth, n.d.). 

Further, Arthropods have complete digestive systems and true coeloms (body cavities) as well as image-forming compounded eyes, acute chemoreceptors (used to detect changes in their environment), indirect developmental patterns (young look different from parents and undergo metamorphosis), open circulatory systems, and striated muscles for faster muscle contractions and more efficient movements (Phylum Arthropoda | Manoa.Hawaii.Edu/ExploringOurFluidEarth, n.d.).foof

And lastly, becasue members of phylum Arthropoda live in a wide range of habitats and survive on a varity of resources, the aforesaid structures are necessary for optimal function, reproduction, development, and survival.

Taxonomic grouping can range from the broadest category (domain) to the most limited category (species) and is used by biologists to determine which category an organism belongs to based on the latter’s specific characteristics. More specifically, cockroaches belong to the subphylum Hexapoda whose members exhibit three body sections containing a head, thorax, and abdomen, three thoracic legs, and one antenna.

Also, cockroaches have three sets of jaws termed mandibles, maxillae, and labium, and spiracles (respiratory opening, like pores) that take in air and allow the trachea tubes to exchange gases for respiration (Phylum Arthropoda | Manoa.Hawaii.Edu/ExploringOurFluidEarth, n.d.). And last, but definitely not least, I discovered that, “Cockroaches are nocturnal, only foraging for food and water during the night” (McAllister, 2020). 

And what kind of food you ask? Well, according to Cockroach Information for Kids website, some species, like the American cockroach consumes almost everything like plants and other insects, while the Brown-banded cockroach dines on starchy substances such as wallpaper and book bindings.

So, there you have it… cockroaches are nocturnal insects. The good news is that there’s no reason to feel creepy-crawly now. The bad news is that you may not sleep so peacfully for a long time!

Author: Danielle Perron-Tennant

Arizona State University- West

Works Cited

  • Cockroach Information for Kids: Cockroach Facts for Kids. (n.d.). Pest World For Kids. Retrieved May 13, 2021, from
  • McAllister, C. T. (2020, December 7). Cockroaches. Encyclopedia of Arkansas. Arthropoda | (n.d.). Exploring Our Fluid Earth
  • Teaching Science as Inquiry. Retrieved May 13, 2021, from,3.72).

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