Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Who is this Pretty "Roachie" Roach?

Is there any relationship between this pretty "roachie" roach 

and this picture below?

I am not too sure. My guess would be the patterns on the cockroach and the dress the painted man was wearing have some similarities. The image was an artist's impression of a Harlequin painted by Maurice Sand in 1761. The image above was taken from

Who and what is Harlequin? According to and Online Etymology; this is what it has written as:  
1590, from M.Fr. harlequin, from O.Fr. Herlequin, Hellequin, etc., leader of la maisnie Hellequin, a troop of demons who rode the night air on horses. He corresponds to O.E. Herla cyning "King Herla," mythical character sometimes identified as Woden; possibly also the same as the Ger. Erlk√∂nig "Elf King" of the Goethe poem. Sometimes also associated with Herrequin, 9c. count of Boulogne, who was proverbially wicked. In Eng. pantomime, a mute character who carries a magic wand. His It. form, arlecchino, is one of the stock characters of commedia del'arte. From his ludicrous dress comes the Eng. meaning "particolored" (1779).

In the Oxford dictionary, harlequin means either in various colours or pantomime character in mask and parti-coloured costumes. Hmm... I had learnt a new word.

So, the mystery of this pretty "roachie" roach has now been identified. It is a Harlequin Cockroach (Neostylopyga Rhombifolia) and unfortunately it is a domestic pest. It is believe to be originated from tropics of Asia. The female carries her ootheca (egg case) for a certain period of time before depositing it. I wonder if she will glue the egg case on an object like the female of American cockroach (Periplaneta americana)??

Professor Joseph Kunkel of University of Massachusetts Amherst directed me to Dr George Beccaloni, a curator of orthopteroidea from The Natural History Museum, London who had helped me on the identification and confirmed the facts on this species of cockroach.  

Many thanks to this two cockroach experts and their interesting articles website revealed the true facts of these wonderful cockroaches (well, some). After reading some of the facts, I now do have some respect to these primitive creatures or pests. However, my feelings toward the American Cockroaches (Periplaneta americana) remain unchanged. 

For anyone who is curious on varieties of cockroaches, you may find these interesting facts from:

2) Professor Joseph Kunkel's Cockroach FAQ 

Happy reading and cockroach hunting. I will still think ten times about holding a cockroach with my bare fingers.

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