Solitary Cockroaches

Currently, few cockroach species are convincingly classified as solitary, that is, leading separate lives except for a brief period of mating. One category of loners may be those cockroaches adapted to deep caves. Although they may cluster around food sources, troglobites are typically solitary animals, have wide home ranges, and meet only for mating (Langecker, 2000). The blattellid Phyllodro-mica maculata is considered solitary, as juveniles do not aggregate, nor are they attracted to filter paper contaminated by conspecifics (Gaim and Seelinger, 1984). Para-temnopteryx couloniana was called "relatively solitary" by Gorton (1979), but without statement of criteria. Thanatophyllum akinetum was described as solitary by Grandcolas (1993a). The insects spend much of their time motionless and flattened against dead leaves on the forest floor in French Guiana. Laboratory tests support the observation that individuals actively distance themselves from conspecifics (Van Baaren and Deleporte, 2001). A solitary, cryptic lifestyle is thought to allow them to escape detection by army ants (Grandcolas, 1998). Nonetheless, the female broods offspring for several hours following hatch, which is a subsocial interaction, albeit short term, between a mother and her offspring. Lamproblatta albipalpus was described as solitary by Gautier et al. (1988), but considered "weakly gregarious" by

Gautier and Deleporte (1986). Males and females of this species are found together in resting sites, but their bodies are not in direct contact. Even strongly gregarious cockroaches, however, can be separated in space within a shelter under certain environmental conditions, for example, high relative humidity (Dambach and Goehlen, 1999).

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