Wild Fact #31 – Stay Away From The Light – Bioluminescent Cockroach

Bioluminescent Cockroach


Cool Facts About The Bioluminescent Cockroach

  • Believe it or not the Bioluminescent Cockroach can actually glow in the dark
  • These intriguing insects are the first known land-based animal that uses bioluminescence to mimic another animal
  • Sadly the Bioluminescent Cockroach may have gone extinct in 2010 at the hands of the Tungurahua Volcano, which likely destroyed all of these cockroaches during its violent eruption
  • This cockroach will actually cover their bioluminescent lights with a thin reflective surface, much like a car headlight, which allows them to completely conceal themselves behind their light. This may be the coolest insect in the world!


The Powerful Use of Light

Let’s talk about their unique lighting feature, shall we? While there are a few other insects that use bioluminescence, this particular cockroach is the first known species to use this trait in an attempt to mimic another creature. That’s right, the Bioluminescent Cockroach uses the 3 spots on their back (two large and one small) to make themselves look like a toxic Click Beetle, which also lived in their unique volcano habitat. No predator in their right mind would want to eat a toxic click beetle and I doubt any of these predators would have think it was a harmless beetle using bioluminescence to trick them.Bioluminescent Cockroach


How Does The Bioluminescent Cockroach Create Light?

This is the million dollar question and it is fairly simple to answer. These cockroaches don’t create light. Wait! What? I thought that was the whole thing that made these animals so unique? You see, the cockroach actually has little pitted holes on their back that collect a wide variety of bacteria. It just so happens that this bacteria is of the glowing variety. So you see, the cockroach isn’t creating the light, the bacteria are. The Bioluminescent Cockroach provides a nice, comfy home to the bacteria and in return, the bacteria light up making the cockroach look like a dangerous click beetle. It is all about creating the right partnerships.



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One Response

  1. Sammy 5 years ago

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