Scientists fear mutant cockroaches after spotting terrifying bug mating trend
Scientists fear the rise of a new mutant strain of cockroach after their research showed a worrying change in the insects' mating habits.
An increasing number of male German roaches – the most common cockroach species found worldwide – are shunning their love of glucose in order to get down and dirty with their female counterparts, who are more averse to the naturally occurring simple sugar.
As a result the much-derided bugs could become even more widespread given that glucose – previously thought to be irresistible to such pests – is often used as a key ingredient in various popular insecticides.
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The development was spotted by boffins at North Carolina State University in the US after they noticed that the female roaches kept in their labs for study have been becoming increasingly picky about who they reproduce with.
Traditionally, when a male cockroach wants to mate he will first offer the female what's called 'nuptial gifts', namely a meal of sugars and fats squished out of his rear tergal gland.
But the ladies' growing indifference towards this sweet stuff over the years has meant they've become less inclined to want to get it on with the fellas.
As a result greater amounts of males have also started shunning the sugar when it comes to their foreplay techniques in order to get round this problem, thereby ensuring fertilisation takes place and their species continues to multiply.
What is more, that mutation will likely carry on in new batches of offspring and throughout future cockroach generations.
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And that could lead to a massive problem for exterminators who have always used glucose to attract the already notoriously hard-to-kill bugs into taking their bait.
For NCSU entomologist Ayako Wada-Katsumata its both a fascinating and worrying development.
“When we think of evolution, we usually imagine wild animals, but actually, it’s also happening with small animals living in our kitchens," he said.
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