Saturday, 14 March 2015

Gross: cockroaches have individual personalities, study says

Chuck Bednar for – @BednarChuck

Perhaps best known as a massive pest and the only creature able to survive a nuclear apocalypse (in popular theory, at least), cockroaches also apparently have individual personalities, according to new research published recently in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

In fact, according to Reuters, the Belgium research team responsible for the study found that the cockroach even displays different character traits – they can be shy and timid, or brave and eager to explore their surroundings. The discovery could help explain why the insects are considered to be such great survivors and so able to adapt to even the most inhospitable environments.

The buggy experiment
The researchers reviewed the behavior of American cockroaches (Periplaneta americana) when they were exposed to light. Sixteen cockroaches were tested in a round arena located underneath a bright light at various times over a three-month span. In the arena’s center was a pair of round shelter areas that the dark-loving insects to go to in order to seek refuge from the light.

Once they were released, the bugs were left along for a period of three hours, during which time their locations were recorded by a camera and a tiny chip that had been placed on their backs. This system allowed the scientists to monitor their location using a computer to determine if the insects were hiding from the light or exploring their surroundings.

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