Locomotion Ground Water and

i can walk on six feet or i can walk on four feet maybe if i tried hard enough i could walk on two feet but i cannot walk on five feet or on three feet or any odd number of feet it slews me around so that i go catercornered

—archy, "a wail from little archy"

Cockroaches were once placed in the suborder Cursoria (Blatchley, 1920) (Lat., runner) because the familiar ones, the domestic pests, are notorious for their ground speed on both horizontal and vertical surfaces. Indeed, the rapid footwork of these species has made cockroach racing a popular sport in a number of institutions of higher learning. Like most animal taxa, however, cockroaches exhibit a range of locomotor abilities, reflecting ease of movement in various habitats. On land, the limits of the range are mirrored in body designs that maximize either speed or power: the lightly built, long-legged runners, and the bulkier, more muscular burrowers. There is a large middle ground of moderately fast, moderately powerful species; however, research has focused primarily on the extremes, and it is on these that we center our discussion of ground locomotion. We touch on cockroach aquatics, then address the extreme variation in flight capability exhibited within the group. Finally, we discuss ecological and evolutionary factors associated with wing retention or loss.

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