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Science

Cockroaches Evolving To Avoid Roach Motels 315

Posted by samzenpus
from the sleeping-on-the-couch-instead dept.
sciencehabit writes "Only a few years after roach motels were introduced in the 1980s, they lost their allure for an increasing number of German cockroaches. Researchers soon realized that some roaches had developed an aversion to glucose—the sugary bait disguising the poison—and that the insects were passing that trait on to their young. Now, scientists have figured out how this behavior evolved."
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Cockroaches Evolving To Avoid Roach Motels

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  • That's fine (Score:5, Funny)

    by phantomfive (622387) on Thursday May 23, 2013 @09:29PM (#43808969) Journal
    Maybe soon they will learn an aversion to everything in my house. Then they can live outside and we will all be happy.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Then they can live outside and we will all be happy.

      I understand many of them have found alternative employment with Microsoft and Apple's IP standover^h^h protection legal teams.

    • Re:That's fine (Score:5, Interesting)

      by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Friday May 24, 2013 @05:06AM (#43810761) Journal
      Dude you might not like them living outside. I don't know about the German ones but here we have what is locally called the "VC cockroach" named because it is as tough as the Viet Cong and those things are happy to live outside in the sewers...until the storm drains flood and then they'll try to climb up through the pipes and get into your house. Since they can live without worrying about poisons they get fricking HUGE, we are talking bigger than a grown man's thumb and tough as hell to kill, you can't use an ordinary fly-swat as it won't even stun 'em, you better have a shoe ready and be putting some arm behind your swing, TOUGH bastards.
    • Roaches are averse to very little. The one thing that kills them dead, and permanent, is boric acid. No - don't try to mix up a poison for them. Just dust the building they infest. Really dust - get it into every crack and crevice, behind light switches, behind wall receptacles, under cabinets, on top of cabinet, under the false floor under your sinks, in the attic, in the basement, get the rafters and floor joists, behind molding, in the heating ducts, hot water tank room, crawlspaces, EVERYWHERE.

      Leav

      • by lgw (121541)

        I wonder how practical dusting the insides of the walls throughout the house with boric acid would be. I guess it wouldn't be a permanent solution due to moisture (and it is an acid, so it might end badly as it slowly washed away), but it does sound worth trying.

        • by HiThere (15173)

          I believe he exaggerated how thoroughly you need to apply the dust. Just be sure you get places that the cockroaches will walk should be enough. Under the stove, refrigerator, on the shelves, etc. And don't remove it.

          Mind you, I'm sure his approach would work, I just think it's probably overkill based on what I've heard previously. You do, however, need to be sure the boric acid remains in place, because you will be continually reinfested from where-ever the original infestation came from.

          P.S.: Boric a

  • Ah, yes! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Black Parrot (19622) on Thursday May 23, 2013 @09:30PM (#43808975)

    That Intelligent Designer is a crafty one! You'll never best his cockroaches!

    • Re:Ah, yes! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 23, 2013 @09:35PM (#43809013)

      That Intelligent Designer is a crafty one! You'll never best his cockroaches!

      IDers accept microevolution.

      • Re:Ah, yes! (Score:5, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 23, 2013 @09:45PM (#43809071)

        IDers accept microevolution.

        Which just makes them more illogical, not less. For example, I accept that I live in my mother's basement, but I don't accept that I will never get a date. Yet the latter is a consequence of the former.

        • by treeves (963993)

          the latter is a consequence of the former, IF IT happens. The former doesn't guarantee the latter. Well, it might in your case...

      • Re:Ah, yes! (Score:5, Informative)

        by Black Parrot (19622) on Thursday May 23, 2013 @10:03PM (#43809133)

        That Intelligent Designer is a crafty one! You'll never best his cockroaches!

        IDers accept microevolution.

        Do they? Back before they got pwned all their marquee arguments[*] took the form of "this-or-that-structure-or-system could not have evolved".

        If you want to defend them, maybe you should clarify what definition of microevolution they accept, and what other flavors of evolution they reject.

        [*] Except for Dembski's "no free lunch" argument that evolution doesn't work any better than blind chance, which of course would apply to microevolution as well as to any other flavor.

        • This appears to speak to your question, especially the last two paragraphs before the notes section.

          The Peppered Moth Story: Vindicated! [creationbc.org]

          A quick search appears to show they haven't folded their cards as yet.

          About Irreducible Complexity [discovery.org]
          Michael Behe Hasn't Been Refuted on the Flagellum [evolutionnews.org]
          mouse trap illustration vs. 3-glasses-3-knives illustration — Irreducible Complexity, Depth of Integration [uncommondescent.com]

          I would think that evolutionary theory would predict, and even practically demand, the presence of ID theorists and C

          • Re:Ah, yes! (Score:4, Interesting)

            by Black Parrot (19622) on Friday May 24, 2013 @12:42AM (#43809859)

            A quick search appears to show they haven't folded their cards as yet.

            Creationists never fold their cards, no matter how many times their claims are refuted.

            I remember reading about a debate where the scientist pointed out that the creationist's argument was based on a long-since refuted claim, the creationist replied that they don't rely on that claim anymore, and the scientist then asked "So why is it in the literature you're selling in the lobby?"

            I would think that evolutionary theory would predict, and even practically demand, the presence of ID theorists and Creationists of various flavors as part of the scientific community. Every scientific community, and they are segmented, is its own little ecosystem. It has sources of energy (grants), and consumers (scientists) and various forms of reproduction (ideas and new scientists, etc.). Some members of the ecosystem will consume resources, but give little back, or produce poor quality offspring. The herd only improves if the strongest survive. Think of the role of predators taking the weak in any animal stock. In this case it is weak theories and science. By the two communities engaging in adversarial struggle, the weak science is exposed and made stronger. What is passed over in silence by on community is exposed by the other and account demanded. Intellectual rigor increases. Their ways are strange to you, perhaps even irritating. But directly and indirectly they help real science grow stronger, and more innovative. They probably also bring additional funding into the scientific community that it otherwise wouldn't have. And without them, your droll post would have no meaning.

            I suspect it's something like the reason physicists don't feel a need to have Time Cube proponentists and historians don't need holocaust deniers.

            As the saying goes, you're entitled to your own opinions, but not to your own facts. If you don't deal in facts, science doesn't need you.

          • Slightly off topic, but how do IDers explain things like retinas being designed backwards and various other poor design choices for humans? Doesn't the idea become more like "Idiot Design" when considering how badly "designed" we are?
            • Re:Ah, yes! (Score:5, Insightful)

              by sFurbo (1361249) on Friday May 24, 2013 @02:52AM (#43810283)
              It isn't an idiot designer, as cephalopods have their eyes the right way around. The designer clearly can do it correctly, but chose not to do it with vertebrates. Furthermore, when looking at the way the world works, it becomes clear that the designer is evil, mad or both. All in all, Cthulhu is the best guess at a designer, given the evidence.
              • Re:Ah, yes! (Score:4, Informative)

                by hawkinspeter (831501) on Friday May 24, 2013 @03:25AM (#43810417)
                I like the way you're thinking there, but I have a counter-example for the whole Intelligent Squid Designer philosophy:

                Cephalod gills don't use a counterflow arrangement (where blood and water move in opposite directions) which would provide a maximum concentration gradient. However, the much more efficient counterflow system is used all over the place (e.g. lungs, fish gills, kidneys, penguin feet) but not in cephalopods.

                It's almost as if Cthulhu came up with a great design and then decided to give all his children the retard version of it. Maybe he just hates his kids.
                • It's almost as if Cthulhu came up with a great design and then decided to give all his children the retard version of it. Maybe he just hates his kids.

                  Well, he also gave cephalapods inefficient blood (copper based as opposed to iron based), so they probably wouldn't benefit nearly as much from good exchangers.

              • cephalopods have their eyes the right way around ... ... Cthulhu ...

                OMG! It all makes sense!

        • I have not run into a IDer who did not accept that some breeds of dogs, for example, were not crafted identically to the way they are now by God, however many thousand of years ago they think the world was created.

      • Re:Ah, yes! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by sqrt(2) (786011) on Thursday May 23, 2013 @10:54PM (#43809339) Journal

        There's really no distinction. What is called macro evolution is determined by hindsight, usually because we are only able to compare fossils separated by millions of years. By definition every organism is a member of the same species as its parents. We only place them into discrete categories for taxonomical convenience. It's not a fact of nature, it's a human contrivance to make doing (some aspects) of biology easier.

        It's like natural languages. I speak English, a Germanic language. I can speak to my father and mother just fine. I can speak to my grandfather, and also converse in German with him. If my great-grandfather were still alive I'd doubtless have no trouble speaking to him, too. He could speak to his parents. They could speak to their parents, and so on. Each person in the chain can speak to and understand the people directly around them. But if you go back just a few hundred years, I wouldn't be able to easily converse with my ancestors, despite the fact that there is an unbroken chain connecting them to myself linguistically. Farther back and I wouldn't even recognize the language they're speaking as English, or German. So from microevolution comes macroevolution of languages.

        So to with biology. If we had access to a fossil or living specimen of every intermediary individual from single cell to human then the very idea of species would become meaningless, lost in the smooth gradient of gradual change. You could line them all up and walk down the line and see them change, almost imperceptibly from one form into another. Every individual would look so much like his parents and offspring that you wouldn't even be able to tell there was a change at all. But you could compare every 10, 100, or 1000 individuals and see that they are in fact changing. At some point they'd be so different as to need a new name, for humans have an almost pernicious compulsion to place things into discrete categories.

        Some people find it impossible to break out of this mindset. Some find that their religion even compels them not to try.

        • The micro- and macro-evolution terms are clumsy labels for what they're being used to describe.

          Mainstream evolution states that each change is an adaptive measure, but that when taken in concert, over time, can results in a distinct organism. From what I understand, some IDers consider evolution to be a purely adaptive mechanism. That is, if you take a bacteria, drop it in a pond, and let evolution run for a billion years, what you'll end up with is bacteria perfectly adapted to life in that pond; it won't

          • Re:Ah, yes! (Score:5, Insightful)

            by sqrt(2) (786011) on Friday May 24, 2013 @12:14AM (#43809723) Journal

            Mutations are random, and most aren't improvements, aren't adaptive. Natural selection then goes to work. The mutations which are better become more numerous by virtue of being better. Detrimental changes terminate the organism's lineage by killing it outright or making it less successful at reproducing. Drop a bacterium into a pond and after a billion years I'd expect to still find bacteria or something analogous in that pond. Ignore the fact that location on the Earth loses meaning at that time scale due to plate tectonics. I'd expect to find bacteria AND lots of other forms of life all over the place everywhere I looked. This demonstrates another misunderstanding ID people have with evolution. Bacteria and humans are equally evolved. We've all been evolving for the same amount of time. Bacteria are just as old as humans, all contemporary species are. No extant species is "less evolved" than any other. You can say they are "more primitive" but what does that really mean? Compared to what?

            Anthropocentrism is a vice biologists are broken of early on. Religious people often find the idea that humans aren't special, that the world wasn't made just for us, positively abhorrent. Strangely these same religions often preach humility. What a contradiction.

            • This demonstrates another misunderstanding ID people have with evolution. Bacteria and humans are equally evolved.

              That's not a misunderstanding of ID people; that's a misunderstanding of evolution by people in general. I blame X-Men, but even stuff like Darwin's Radio falls victim to it. Anything that uses the phrase "next phase of human evolution" is probably doing it.

              That's why I used the term "complex" rather than "more evolved" or "advanced". Humans are more complex than bacteria, but "evolved" isn't a measure of complexity, it's a measure of adaptivity, and needs to be contextualized. For instance, humans are poor

              • Some bacteria are highly evolved for survival in extreme temperature or acidity.

                Pedant point: those are generally archaeans.

              • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

                by Anonymous Coward

                Complexity is usually a workaround for an detrimental mutation that happened down the line. Evolution is not a championship of the fittest and strongest, but a never ending rerouting around obstacles. The strongest and fittest stay as they are from one generation to another; the outcasts and "damaged good" specimens are pushed to the limbs of their worlds to explore neighboring niches and then evolve into them. Some of them might some day become more powerful then their former "betters", if their evolutiona

            • Re:Ah, yes! (Score:4, Informative)

              by jkflying (2190798) on Friday May 24, 2013 @03:04AM (#43810317)

              Just a quick pointer, most evolution (in mammals at least) isn't through mutations, but through recombination. Just as an example, in humans, on average there is only one new mutation (ie. one corrupted base-pair) per two generations. When you consider the size of the genome is equivalent to 3.5GB of data, that is virtually nothing.

              Then compare that to something like HIV, which only has a genome size of 1.2KB of data, but still averages about 1 to 2 mutations per generation.

          • by JoshuaZ (1134087)

            Mainstream evolution states that each change is an adaptive measure,

            No. Evolution can occur due to neutral drift, founder effects http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Founder_effect [wikipedia.org] among other causes. Indeed, the founder effect is a major cause of speciation events.

            • Fine; I was imprecise. The mainstream perspective of evolutionary history is that the current state of the species are due to beneficial changes in the genome being distributed across a population due to natural selection.

              Yes, there are other means of evolution, but in the longterm, the changes themselves are either beneficial (in which case they're distributed across the population), harmful (in which case they're removed from the gene pool), or neutral (in which case, they are present in some individuals,

              • Re:Ah, yes! (Score:5, Interesting)

                by JoshuaZ (1134087) on Friday May 24, 2013 @12:48AM (#43809881) Homepage
                No, there's a serious misconception here. Neutral traits can become universal in a population, and frequently do. This is especially likely in small populations (which is part of why bottlenecks matter so much).
                • Which is why I contextualized by saying that it's the perspective on the current state of the species. Yeah, there are niche cases - geographical isolation, no natural predators, or whatever. But by and large, when you look at the evolution of species as a whole, the picture is that of advancement by adaptation.

                  Take white tigers for an example; yes, due to controlled inbreeding, isolated environments, and being maintained in circumstances where there's no predation, a "negative" trait is spread through a po

      • Re:Ah, yes! (Score:5, Informative)

        by JoshuaZ (1134087) on Thursday May 23, 2013 @11:13PM (#43809407) Homepage
        So, most of the other responses here meet most of the major relevant issues. But one thing that's curious is that while some young earth creationists clam they accept "microevolution" what they mean by this is quite hard to pin down. One common claim is that by microevolution one means evolution below the species level. But Answers in Genesis, the world's largest YEC ministry lists claiming that speciation does not occur as an argument that creationists should not use because the evidence for speciation is so strong. http://www.answersingenesis.org/get-answers/topic/arguments-we-dont-use [answersingenesis.org]. Now, here's the really neat bit: A variety of ID proponents argue that speciation doesn't happen. There's an interview in Expelled where one of the ID proponents says that speciation doesn't happen. This isn't the only example. So it looks like the ID proponents are frequently even more reactionary than the most sophisticated YECs. That's what happens when you are constructing viewpoints to sound just plausible enough to have an appearance of controversy and not actually trying to figure out the truth.
      • Just not the implications of iterating microevolution over even ten thousand years-- much less a million-- much less a hundred million-- much less a billion years.

      • And flat-Earthers accept that the Earth looks round in the exceptional and unimportant case of viewing the planet from the moon.

      • by mwvdlee (775178)

        Well obviously; If the earth has only been around for a few thousand years, there simply hasn't been enough time for macroevolution yet.

    • Re:Ah, yes! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by girlintraining (1395911) on Thursday May 23, 2013 @09:44PM (#43809063)

      That Intelligent Designer is a crafty one! You'll never best his cockroaches!

      I see your intelligently designed cockroaches, and raise you intelligently designed science [io9.com].

    • Pff (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Greyfox (87712) on Thursday May 23, 2013 @11:21PM (#43809435) Homepage Journal
      If I were designing them, they'd thrive on the poison in the traps. Of course, if I were designing them, the cockroaches would be the focus of the experiment. I'd throw increasingly difficult challenges at them, culminating in some moderately clever primates. Once the cockroach Alpha arises, it would be saved for future study, and the rest of the experiment would be reset. That's the problem with an intelligent designer, isn't it? One tends to believe that they're the focus of the experiment. One tends to think that they will somehow qualify for special treatment. When, in fact, all that awaits you is euthanasia and a brain dissection. And that's if you're one of the lucky ones.
  • by volkerdi (9854) on Thursday May 23, 2013 @09:39PM (#43809035)

    Use high fructose corn syrup in the roach motels instead of glucose. I'm surprised they don't do this already, since they use it in everything else.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 23, 2013 @10:19PM (#43809199)

      Cockroaches have taste and need quality stuff. High fructose corn syrup is only for lower species.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 23, 2013 @10:24PM (#43809231)

      .... and just leave poison out --- let the diabetes, liver disease, and obesity kill the roaches instead ...

    • by Solandri (704621) on Thursday May 23, 2013 @11:51PM (#43809595)
      Most high fructose corn syrup is 42%-53% glucose [wikipedia.org].

      Yes I know this contradicts the conventional wisdom that HFCS is bad, while sucrose (which your body breaks down into 50% fructose / 50% glucose) is good. But the people pushing that agenda aren't really the types who took chemistry in school. It's just called "high fructose" because it has a larger fraction of fructose than regular syrup, which is mostly glucose.
    • by catchblue22 (1004569) on Friday May 24, 2013 @12:24AM (#43809769) Homepage

      I have noticed over the past few years that ants in my area have "learned" to avoid consuming Raid borax laced syrup. I remember early on in my house that ants would feast on the stuff, sucking large drops dry in a matter of minutes. Now, the new ants crawl up to the syrup I have left, seem to probe it, and then run away quickly. Even if I applied the syrup to an established ant pathway, they go around the drops without consuming any of it. I don't know whether they are averse to eating the sugar, or whether they can somehow sense the borax in the syrup. There seems to be some evolution going on here.

      • I have noticed over the past few years that ants in my area have "learned" to avoid consuming Raid borax laced syrup.

        Two suggestions. First, if you're mixing your own posion (Raid + borax + syrup) then you might have simply made the mix too strong.

        Second, there are sugar ants and fat ants. (I'm sure this is entomologically a gross oversimplification but I think it's fair when talking about invading household ants.) Sugar ants want sweet stuff, fat ants want fat. It might be that your invaders were sugar ants, but now they're fat ants. Try putting a little peanut butter in front of them to see how they react.

  • by srobert (4099) on Thursday May 23, 2013 @09:40PM (#43809041)

    I noticed the roaches weren't going for it, so I added a sign to it: "Free Continental Breakfast, Free Wifi".

    • by naroom (1560139) on Thursday May 23, 2013 @09:44PM (#43809067)
      Once wifi has been around for 30+ years, we may start to see pests like roaches and mosquitoes becoming attracted to it. A wifi signal is a good indicator of delicious things nearby.
      • by sqrt(2) (786011)

        I'd have to doubt that. Well, not by detecting radio waves. Radio is just our term for a band of the light spectrum, so it's as old as the universe. No living thing on Earth has evolved to make use of that part of the spectrum like has been done for "visible" light, UV, and infrared. It's probably beyond the reach of natural selection, the same way no animal ever evolved something like a wheel despite being enormously more efficient for travel. The intermediary steps are too difficult and wouldn't confer be

        • by nabsltd (1313397)

          No living thing on Earth has evolved to make use of that part of the spectrum like has been done for "visible" light, UV, and infrared.

          Birds are sensitive to magnetism, and other species have shown some ability to sense similar things (like electric power lines).

          With literally billions (at least) of species on the planet, saying "no living thing has whatever" has been found to be generally incorrect.

          • by sqrt(2) (786011)

            There's a big difference between detecting the rough direction of magnetic North and being able to discern the source of radio waves, and an even bigger difference from being able to pick out specific frequencies against a noisy background. There are also some very good reasons from physics and chemistry [wordpress.com] why a "biological radio" would be impossible to evolve naturally. In short, radio is too low energy to be biologically useful.

            Oh and there's an exception about my wheel analogy. Bacteria really did evolve a

        • no animal ever? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pangolin [wikipedia.org]
          • by sqrt(2) (786011)

            Rolling your whole body or coiling up for protection isn't the same thing as having a freely rotating wheel for transportation. There's never been an animal like the mulefa. [wikipedia.org]

        • Size matters. Pretty much all animal cells (except eggs) are about the same size. Most light-detection systems in animals are arrays of single cells, each detecting a frequency. To detect 2.4ghz radio (wavelength 12.5 cm) you optimally need a 6.25cm long detector. That's larger than any single cell can easily support, and an array of cells to detect it would be unlike any previously evolved light sensor.

          Which isn't to say it's impossible, just that you need really big cockroaches. Madagascar hissing cockroa
      • by PPH (736903)

        Don't look now, but they are here [slashdot.org].

  • Using cockroaches (Score:2, Interesting)

    by FishTankX (1539069)

    Well it's simple enough to just redesign the roach motel so it baits them with wheat or something, i'd imagine. But part of me wonders if we would be better off just building a mega roach hotel chocked full of actual food in a neighborhood and instead of killing the roaches with glue, just relocating them into the forest when the roach hotel reaches capacity, or using them as feed for fish or something.

    • Re:Using cockroaches (Score:5, Informative)

      by femtobyte (710429) on Thursday May 23, 2013 @11:04PM (#43809373)

      This approach might not work out so well with r-strategy breeders [wikipedia.org] --- you'll fill the house up for sure with happy little roaches, but they won't be leaving the neighbors' homes to get there (just exponentially exploding their population to catch up with the expanded resources). Setting up "guard rows" of tasty pesticide-free crops to lure pests away from agricultural fields works to the extent that said pests are highly mobile and individually "exploring" a wide enough area to "find" the guard rows in preference to the main crops. However, roaches tend to locate and nest in one area (with only "excess population" expanding out into new territory) --- some very lucky bugs will find the new house (and start breeding to fill it), but the roaches behind your kitchen cabinets will stay behind to raise their kids behind your kitchen cabinets.

  • Who's going to go to a hotel full of roaches?

  • Researchers soon realized that some roaches had developed an aversion to glucose

    How does a roach develop an aversion to glucose? Did they eat just a little - not enough for the poison to kill them - and thus learn from the resulting sickness that they shouldn't eat it again? If so how did they pass this knowledge onto their offspring?

    Or did strains of cockroaches that already had an aversion to glucose become more prolific since they weren't killed by the roach traps?

  • by sqrt(2) (786011) on Thursday May 23, 2013 @10:30PM (#43809257) Journal

    ...just to stay in the same place. Natural selection follows from basic principles of logic. It's so close to first principles that it always amazes me that we had to wait so long for Darwin to show up and slap humanity on the face with the simple truth of it. Living things exist because they inherited what it takes to exist from their ancestors. The ones that didn't have what it took to stay in existence...didn't. The world is full of things that exist. Protons, stars, iron, roaches, people. Natural selection acts on everything. The universe itself may even have been "selected" through some process of cosmogenesis where universes that don't have what it takes, physical laws and constant appropriate to produce stars, black holes, daughter universes, see their lineage die off. Hard to prove, probably impossible, but it is not even a new idea to think natural selection is too powerful and too basic to reality to be confined to biology.

    Unless you can eradicate an entire species quickly and completely, all you do is set up a selection pressure which favors mutant individuals who have what it takes to beat your attempts to eradicate them. The ones that don't have what it takes to counter your attack, roach motel or whatever it is, don't survive, and don't pass on their genes which failed to adequately equip them for survival and reproduction.

    Arthropod life cycles are very fast so it's not even surprising to see evolution like this happening in just a few decades. I'm surprised it hasn't happened sooner.

  • ...except in Germany, where it's known as the "French Cockroach".

  • by Tumbleweed (3706) on Thursday May 23, 2013 @10:56PM (#43809351)

    If they've upped their standards and don't like motels, we'll have to increase our efforts, and create roach B&Bs.

  • For anyone else wondering, you want the second link on the Wikipedia disambiguation page.

  • by houbou (1097327) on Friday May 24, 2013 @12:20AM (#43809745) Journal
    The roaches are probably trying to get a better deal through Priceline! :)
  • This could be good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Coward Anonymous (110649) on Friday May 24, 2013 @02:25AM (#43810175)

    Part of the roach's success stems from its omnivorous diet. Removing glucose from its diet is likely a considerable hit on its caloric intake. If the aversion to glucose can be maintained while developing aversions to other abundant and nutritious food stuffs, like meat protein, we could bio-engineer cockroaches to become specialized eaters.

    Specialized eaters are easier to control and eradicate. Furthermore, if they over specialize to the degree of Pandas and Koalas they may be bio-engineered out of existence. Personally, I wouldn't mind never seeing another cockroach again.

    • by the biologist (1659443) on Friday May 24, 2013 @04:00AM (#43810547)
      Another aspect of the success of the German cockroach (mentioned in article) is that they're colonial animals. If the food source runs out, they will simply eat each other and keep breeding... resulting in a slowly shrinking colony. Eventually the colony will starve itself out of existence, but generally the humans living near by will have accidentally given them some food that isn't the colony... resulting in the colony rapidly growing again.
  • I was pretty sure they were around in the 1970s and Wiki confirms that [wikipedia.org].

    I have fond memories of another boy (I swear) picking up a packed "motel" and showing it to the girls to freak them out. That was definitely in the 1970s when I was still in elementary school.

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