Oct 18, 2010

Macro Monday - La Cucaracha

One of my favorite Spanish ditties is La Cucaracha. It is an old tune that dates back to Espana (Spain) before they came to the Americas. It reached immense popularity during the Mexican Revolution when the lyrics were rewritten numerous times to display political views, anger and dismay during the war. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the tune, you can take a listen here:

And just so you don't feel left out here is one version of the lyrics:

La Cucaracha with English Translation

La cucaracha, la cucaracha,
(The cockroach, the cockroach,)
ya no puede caminar
(can't walk anymore)
porque no tiene, porque le falta
(because it doesn't have, because it's lacking)
la patita principal
(the front leg)

The second verse used in the video is a bit naughty so I am leaving off the text and translation. If you want to know, leave me a comment with an email and I will tell you. Now back to the photos.

This little guy is not the cockroach you hear about when talking about infestation in homes. This is an Asian cockroach. Initially, they were described in Japan in 1981. They have recently established themselves in central and panhandle Florida. The first reports were in 1986 from Lakeland, FL and were believed to be a strain of German cockroach (which is a definite problem pest). However, research later showed that they were closely related but not the same species.

The confusion on the two species stems from how similar they look but a good observer can tell them apart. One way is the physical appearance. You may notice that the wings are narrow and longer.

Another way to tell the difference is to observe their habits. A German cockroach is more likely to be found in one's home. They are primarily nocturnal and will hide from any bright light.

However, the Asian cockroach prefers being outdoors in shaded and heavy vegetation such as mulch, tall grasses and leaf litter. While they are nocturnal too (more active in the evening hours) it is not unusual to see them resting in the day time. At night time, they are attracted to light like moths.

Perhaps the easiest way to identify Asian versus German is to disturb them. German cockroaches are likely to run away whereas the Asian will most certainly fly away.

On another note, there is some talk that this "pest" may actually be classified as a beneficial species by the USDA (United Stated Department of Agriculture). The Asian cockroach at times feed on the eggs of some crop pests such as bollworms. If Asian cockroaches could be used in cotton, corn and soybean fields, they would significantly cut the farmers' losses due to insect damage. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080106132313.htm.

Next time you see a roach or any other insect, stop and observe them for a bit. They are fascinating creatures.

For more macros, please visit: http://lisaschaos.com/.



Kala said...

He is tiny!

Damaris said...

I love your macro monday idea but I do hate the cucarachas. yuck. but great photos. really.

Maaike said...

a great macro from a nasty creature!

Andrea said...

Hi Jessica, my first time here, just followed your comment from somewhere. I love everything you posted here...not the cockroach though but the photos. I love the DOF and the vividness. You must be so quick coz you were able to have many shots and it didnt go away. We also have them but the darker versions and everybody are afraid of them. They also hide in dark areas. They are really Asian coz they fly away!