Environmental scientist Marc Minno was looking through some paperwork at his office in Live Oak, Florida, when a small bug fell out of a folder he was holding. Upon further examination of the bug, Minno discovered it was actually a cockroach. However, this bug was not the typical solid brown color of Florida’s native cockroach species.
The cockroach Minno discovered had black wings with hints of yellow around the edges, and an orange-red body. Having never seen this type of cockroach in Southern Florida, Minno did some research on the bug and found it to be a pale-bordered field cockroach, originally found in Central America, Texas, and the Caribbean.
In his research, Minno found that the species was relatively new to Florida, and the United States as a whole. Many new species find their way to Florida every year, such as the Burmese python or the Argentine tegu lizards. Yet some of the species that arrive on Florida’s shores are categorized as invasive, and can threaten the local ecosystem by attacking the native species.
After his initial research, Minno donated the roach to the Florida State Collection of Arthropods, where extensive research will be done to find out more about the species. While there is no current indication that the bug will be harmful to Florida’s ecosystem, cockroaches are known to spread nearly 33 different kinds of germs. Currently, there is not much known about this species, its behaviors, or what it eats.
Minno believes that more of these roaches will begin to appear in Florida due to changes in the climate, which have caused other species such as butterflies to alter their migration patterns. He believes that the appearance of the pale-bordered field cockroach is due to similar reasons, and will continue as climate change continues to push their migration patterns to the North.