Science News

Cockroaches Have Personalities And Different Character Traits, Study Says

American Cockroach Study

The beetle-esque insect known as the cockroach, a scavenger, has a personality according to researchers at the Universite Libre de Bruxelles who found that the bugs even display different character traits.

Issac Planas, the study’s lead researcher and a PhD student at ULB, indicated that cockroaches made for perfect test subjects due to their decision-making skills and the extensive amount of research that already exists on the insects. He was quoted by WHTC as having said that while they are simple, they have the ability to “make complex decisions“.

Cockroaches are a simple animal, but they can reach a complex decision. So with little information, with little interactions, only knowing if I have a partner here or not, only with this information, they can make complex decisions

In the study, the researchers studied the behavior of the American cockroach (Periplaneta americana) when it’s exposed to light. The test took place over the course of three months which 16 cockroaches examined in each trial. The roaches were released into a round arena, located underneath a bright light, with two round shelters inside of the arena. The shelters provided shade for the insects.

For those that don’t know, cockroaches are known for their aversion to light. In other words, they prefer the dark.

After the insects were released into the arena, they were left alone for a period of three hours during which their locations were recorded by cameras and transmitted by small chips on their backs. This allowed the scientists behind the experiment to see when they were venturing out into the light or hiding within the confines of their dark shelters.

In the test, the roaches would quickly congregate within the shelters; the timing of this action varied.

The study’s lead researcher explained that the decision of one roach might sway that of the others. So in the case of one roach quickly moving to the shelter, the others might be encouraged by its action to follow suit, diminishing the amount of time it takes for the group to reach the shelter. Subsequently, the roaches do not appear to have a social hierarchy. Instead, they are “a group of equal individuals that reach a choice,” according to Planas who discussed the study with Reuters.

We have a group of equal individuals that reach a choice, can have consensus decision making as we can see in sheep, bats, some monkey species, fish, birds, for example, or also humans in this case

Researchers behind the study believe that the varying personalities of the roaches might explain their ability to adapt to new surroundings, as the braver of the bunch venture into new environments while the others linger behind, waiting to see if the environment is safe to inhabit.

In other insect related discoveries reported here on Immortal News, a graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley discovered two new species of peacock spiders in Queensland, Australia.

Does the notion of cockroaches having personalities and character traits surprise you?

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