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Tags: german cockroach | origin | study

Scientists Solve Mystery of Urban Cockroach Origin

By    |   Friday, 24 May 2024 02:51 PM EDT

A team of international scientists have solved a 250-year-old mystery of the origin and spread of one of the most prevalent indoor urban pests on the planet: the German cockroach.

And it wasn't in Germany.

The team's research findings — published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal — included the genomic analyses of over 280 specimens from 17 countries and six continents and found the species evolved some 2,100 years ago from an outside species in Asia.

It concluded the German cockroach spread from Southeast Asia by hitchhiking around the world in association with humans. And along with its rapid spread, it evolved a resistance to a variety of insecticides, making it extremely difficult to control using over-the-counter products.

"The origin and spread of the German cockroach are shrouded in mystery," the team wrote in its abstract. "Described by Linnaeus in 1776 about a decade after the Seven Years' War, historical records have suggested a global spread of German cockroaches from Europe between the late 19th to early 20th centuries."

But the German cockroach "has no close relatives in Europe; those are in Africa and Asia," and as recently as the 18th century, the German cockroach was still mostly contained within Asia, the team wrote.

"Our estimated time for their entry into Europe … matches the earliest historical records in the 1760s," the team wrote. "The German cockroach then spread to the rest of the world between the late 19th and early 20th century, consistent with the highest volume of first records."

"Advances that accelerated transportation … and thus globalization of trade, and increased comfort in housing (plumbing and indoor heating), allowed German cockroach populations to colonize regions that had been previously inaccessible due to high mortality during long-distance travel and poor cold tolerance," they wrote.

According to Warren Booth, an associate professor of urban entomology at Virginia Tech, the German cockroach is a major public health issue because of its links to disease spread, food contamination, and its role in triggering asthma and allergies.

Fran Beyer

Fran Beyer is a writer with Newsmax and covers national politics.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


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A team of international scientists have solved a 250-year-old mystery of the origin and spread of one of the most prevalent indoor urban pests on the planet: the German cockroach.
german cockroach, origin, study
337
2024-51-24
Friday, 24 May 2024 02:51 PM
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