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White cockroaches in the apartment - what kind of albino are these?

Давайте разберемся, почему иногда в квартире можно встретить белых тараканов - своего рода альбиносов на фоне рыжих собратьев...

Although white cockroaches in the apartment can not be seen so often, but sometimes they still catch the eye - then this raises the question of what kind of strange albinos are, are they dangerous for humans and in general, have undertaken.

Well, if in the kitchen or in the bathroom you caught such an unusual white cockroach, you should first of all keep in mind that it does not differ from the usual red cockroaches in any way, except for a mutant and a mistake of nature. Moreover, every red cockroach several times in its life is milky white. True, such transformations happen infrequently, and the white color itself does not last long for an insect, so the probability of seeing a pest in such an outfit is rather small.

Вообще говоря, таких вот белых тараканов можно встретить нечасто, но иногда такое все-таки случается.

With what is this reincarnation connected? Let's understand ...

Why are cockroaches white?

The normal color of the outer covers of the cockroach is due to the presence in its chitinous shell (cuticle) of a set of special pigments from the group of melanins - incidentally, by the chemical nature of those close to those responsible for the color of skin and hair in mammals.

Характерная окраска рыжих тараканов обусловлена наличием в их кутикуле особых пигментов из группы меланинов.

It is interesting

The type of pigment color of cockroaches refers to the so-called cuticular color, that is, when the pigments are exclusively in the outer covers of the insect. Since the cuticle is chemically very resistant, after the death of an insect, the color remains very long.

In some insects, the color is hypodermal and subhypodermal - in this case the pigments are in soft tissues under the exoskeleton. Often after the death of an insect such a color changes rapidly - for example, blue and green coloring of dragonflies after their death quickly becomes faded, grayish-brown.

Red cockroaches - Prussians - have their own specific set of pigments, differing, for example, from that of black cockroaches. Accordingly, the color of the body and wings of the cockroaches is less saturated.

So why are the red cockroaches sometimes white?

Small larvae of cockroaches that have just hatched from eggs have very thin body covers, pigments in their chitinous membranes are contained in very small amounts, and therefore these larvae appear to be white, almost transparent. Literally for several days (and sometimes several hours), as the development of the chitin cover and the development of pigments in it, the cockroaches darken and acquire their typical coloration.

For example, the photo below shows a white larva of the German cockroach (prusaka):

Личинки прусака в яйцах

And here - larvae of a black cockroach, just hatched from eggs ootecs:

Личинки черного таракана, только что вылупившиеся из яиц, имеют белый цвет.

And then - the dark brown female of the Madagascar cockroach and the "snow-white" offspring "born" by it (the Madagascar cockroach refers to egg-living species, that is, the larvae hatch from the eggs in the mother's body, and only then "born" to light - this mechanism increases the survival of the younger generation) :

Самка мадагаскарского таракана производит на свет десятки маленьких белых личинок.

So, given that every home cockroach hatch from an egg, any larva at the beginning of its life has a white body color. Therefore, if you have met a small white cockroach in an apartment - you should not think that it is a mutant, it only says that more recently, the ranks of pests have been replenished by 20-30 new small specimens (the number of eggs is on average in the ointec of the cockroach).

It is interesting

Types of cockroaches , females who constantly carry capsules with eggs (ootecs) at the end of the abdomen until the hatching of the larvae, are more adapted to survival in the natural environment and in the conditions of apartments. For example, in black cockroaches, a female lays capsules with eggs a few days after they are formed, and only a few weeks later, larvae will be hatched from such a defenseless capsule. Therefore, a large number of eggs of black cockroaches are eaten by competing prusaks, and in nature - by beetles, birds and other animals.

But female cockroaches carry capsules on themselves until the hatching of the larvae, resulting in a significant increase in the survival rate of eggs.

But why sometimes in the apartment there are also large white cockroaches that have long passed the stage of the larva of the first age?

Иногда в квартирах встречаются не только маленькие белые личинки тараканов, но и вполне крупные особи белого цвета.

The fact is that as the growth grows, the hard chitinous cover of the larva (nymph) becomes too small for it - it grows out of it, as a child grows out of its clothes. This shell can be slightly stretched, but completely beyond the growth of the insect does not have time.

Therefore, approximately 5-7 times before reaching adulthood, the nymph sheds, dumping the old cover. Every time at the moment of molting, an overgrown larva crawls out from the old brownish shell in poorly pigmented, almost white covers, which again need from several hours to several days to darken.

In the photos below, a newly mellowed white nymph of the cockroach is shown:

Полинявшая личинка (нимфа) прусака

Уже примерно через день такой «альбинос» приобретет обычную рыжую окраску.

It is these grown-up larvae or the adults who emerge from the last larval "costume" of adult white cockroaches that residents of apartments and private houses sometimes notice in kitchens, in toilets and bathrooms (in places close to water sources).

Pay attention when the next time you see a white cockroach: most likely, it will not have wings. All the same, in 5-6 lines in the larval stage the insect has only one molt, after which an adult pest with developed wings appears. And given that until the last molt does not survive more than 20% of insects, the probability of seeing an adult white pest is very low.

Here are some more photos of white cockroaches:

Белый только что полинявший таракан

Ввиду отсутствия пигментов в кутикуле белые тараканы кажутся почти прозрачными.

On a note

It is obvious that the white color strongly unmasks the insect, especially in nature. Therefore, evolution contributed to the fact that the covers of the body of cockroaches darken very quickly, almost simultaneously with drying. Therefore, red cockroaches are white quite a short time.

But some types of cockroaches, which do not see light and live in caves, often have a white color throughout their lives. Here predators do not use sight, and the color of the cockroach does not play an important role in its survival.

White cockroaches in the apartment: why are they so few and where are they found most often?

Typically, for molting cockroaches choose secluded places. This is important for survival, since the individual is most vulnerable at this moment: the chitinous exoskeleton is too soft and, moreover, unmasks the cockroach in its color.

Сразу после линьки тараканы наиболее уязвимы, поэтому прячутся в укромных местах.

Therefore, it is unlikely to find a white cockroach anywhere on the wall or on a table (though sometimes it is possible when the individual is disoriented because of the action of some insecticides). Usually white cockroaches in the apartment sit in the most secluded shelters, waiting for time after the next stage of growing up.

In an apartment or house, white cockroaches are often found during harvesting (when moving furniture or when raking a pile of rubbish, among which insects like to hide). If the owner of the apartment is "lucky" and he opens such a shelter just after the moult, then he can contemplate the pests of milky white color.

It is clear that no unique cockroaches and increased danger (as some impressionable tenants sometimes think), white cockroaches do not. They are even more vulnerable than their red relatives, and less mobile. Therefore, to catch and crush such an "albino" is much easier than a typical cockroach.

Белые, недавно полинявшие тараканы обычно несколько менее подвижны, чем их рыжие собратья.

On a note

The total duration of all the lines and the stay of a domestic cockroach in a white outfit is approximately 2-3 days for all of its many months of life. Considering that at these moments insects move little and diligently hide, one can understand why they so rarely come to their eyes even with a relatively large number of pests in the room.

White cockroaches in nature

In nature and in the terrariums of fans of exotic cockroaches, there are also such species of these insects, which in the adult state are almost white or simply light colored.

For example, the giant cockroach Blaberus giganteus from South America, very famous for terrarium animals, has wide translucent wings that cover a light body (see below in the photo):

Гигантский таракан (Blaberus giganteus)

Due to its large size (up to 8 cm) and its original coloration, this species is very different from many of its relatives. At the same time, among the dry foliage in which he spends most of his life, this cockroach just light wings and mask.

The so-called cockroach "dead head" (Blaberus craniifer) is quite similar to a giant cockroach. On his back there is a picture remotely resembling a human skull, for which it is an insect and got its name. In the photo the cockroach looks black and white:

Таракан «мертвая голова» (Blaberus craniifer)

In general, in the tropics, a large number of species of cockroaches, which in the adult state have a light (with hints) color. Below in the photos there are several examples.

Madeira cockroach:

Мадейрский таракан

Gyna lurida:

Таракан Gyna lurida

Banana cockroach:

На фото - банановый таракан

In all these species, the nymphs after leaving the egg and after molting for some time have almost white color.

Are true albino cockroaches?

Purely theoretically, albino cockroaches can occur in populations - both in nature and in flats. As noted above, the dark color of the cuticle is determined by pigments melanocytes, related in structure to those found in the skin and hair of mammals. And if there are albino rats in nature and in laboratories, there may well be cockroaches, in which pigments are not produced at all.

However, in practical practice, albino cockroaches are almost unbelievable for two reasons:

  1. The primary cause of albinism are gene mutations, and their frequency is very low (even among a million normal cockroaches, there is almost no chance to meet even one true albino);
  2. In the wild nature of the cockroach-albino in the first larval stages destroying predators - too much white color unmasks them. In human habitation, the life of a white pest is also unlikely to be long, and very few people would understand, an albino is it or just a recently shedding cockroach.

If you've ever met a white cockroach in your house - be sure to share your impressions, leaving a review at the bottom of this page (in the comments field).

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