How does cockroach easily avoid a swipe? Which organ forewarns it about the attack?

This characteristic is shared by house-fly also. It is not easy to swipe a house-fly either. However, Nature has been partial to the cockroach and has sustained its existence for the last 35 crore years. The species of cockroach evolved much earlier than human beings. Throughout long evolutionary process, it has been developing the ability to survive in extremely adverse conditions. So much so that exposure to nuclear radiation following a nuclear explosion, which would be fatal to human beings, animals and birds, can not harm a cockroach. Pesticides like DDT also do not have much effect on this insect. The body of a cockroach survives for days even if the head is cut-off. This repugnant insect can feed on a variety of things from soap to leather. It can also do without food for up to two months. The cockroach’s body is so smooth and flat that it can slip into a narrow crevice for protection. Its body is also very elastic. If one steps on it accidentally, almost nothing happens! This insect can withstand a weight up to seventy kilograms.

A female cockroach spawns many eggs sufficient for the birth of 180 cockroaches in 303 days. Assuming that one half of these young ones are females, then in another three hundred days the number of cockroaches would go up to 27,270!

A cockroach flies with some difficulty but is a swift runner. It can identify threat easily. Nature has given cockroach microscopic hair on its body, which are directly connected with its central nervous system. These sensory hairs identify wind direction. As a roll of a news-paper or a broom is swung down (or even up) on cockroach, air swiftly flows toward it. Cockroach senses the approaching air flow and immediately runs away in the opposite direction. A fly also employs the same tactics; hence a racket-like fly swatter is used. This plastic device has many rectangular holes through which air escapes. This venting not only minimizes the air pressure, but allows fly swatter to move quickly through air. Thus, by the time the fly’s (or a cockroach’s) natural ‘radar’ senses the attack, the target is hit!

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