Palmetto Bug vs Cockroach (Roach)
Roach is another colloquial name of cockroaches and Palmetto bug is one of them. Palmetto bug in only one species among a highly diversified group of insects, but their distinction is important to discuss. This article discusses the important facts about roaches and the distinction of Palmetto bug.
Roach or Cockroach
Roaches are a highly diversified group of insects with more than 4,500 species, and they are classified under the Order: Blattodea. There are eight families of roaches, but only four species have become serious pests. However, about 30 species of roaches have been living around the human habitations. The most important aspect of the roaches is that their ability to withstand the mass extinctions. In a simple term, roaches have never failed to survive any of the mass extinctions taken place on Earth since their beginning 354 million years ago in the Carboniferous period.
Compared to most of the other insects, roaches are large with about 15 – 30 millimetres long body. The largest recorded species is the Australian giant burrowing roach with about a nine-centimetre long body. They all have a dorso-ventrally flattened body with a small head. The mouthparts are adapted to feed on any type of food, which is an indication of their generalised food habits. Therefore, whatever is available could be a food for roaches. Their basis of survival through more than 350 million years is well explained using their generalised food habits. They have large compound eyes and two long antennae. The whole body is not as hard as in many insects, but the first pair of wings are hard and the second pair is membranous. Their legs have coxae and claws for protection and other functions. Roaches could be serious pests not only for food destroyers, but also as dispersal agents of diseases such as asthma.
Palmetto bug (Eurycotis floridana) is also known as the Florida woods cockroach. However, there are many occasions that Palmetto bug is erroneously referred as the American cockroach (Periplaneta americana).
Palmetto bug grows a large body that measures about 1.5 – 2 inches in length. The black colour body is wide and glossy. Since their wings are too small, they seem to be wingless at the first glance. Palmetto bugs could be mistakenly identified sometimes as female Oriental cockroaches due to their close resemblance with each other. Palmetto bug is native to Florida and West Indies (Caribbean islands), and they are not capable of tolerating cold habitats. Palmetto bugs rather prefer the warm tropical or sub-tropical areas. They move slowly in the habitat and are found mostly in dampen and moist environments. Additionally, they have been often spotted in and around sheltered outdoors, especially inside crevices, under leaf litter, tree holes, and many other microhabitats where they are safe. Palmetto bugs are occasionally recorded from bathrooms and other human habitations. One of the most interesting behaviours of them is that they emit an unbearably strong odour when disturbed. Therefore, Palmetto bugs are often called as stinking cockroaches.
What is the difference between Roach and Palmetto Bug?
• Roach is a general term to refer all the cockroach species while Palmetto bug is one such species.
• Roach has a worldwide distribution while palmetto bug is native to Florida and Caribbean islands.
• Roaches come in different sizes while Palmetto bug is a relatively large species than others.
• Roaches include some common pest species, but palmetto bug is not a pest.
• Palmetto bug moves slower than most of the roach species.
• Palmetto bug can emit a strong odour, but not all the roaches are able to do that.
• Although most of the roaches can live under different climates, Palmetto bugs prefer warm and damp habitats.