Panesthia lata, the Lord Howe Island wood-feeding cockroach or Lord Howe Island cockroach, is a large, wingless cockroach species endemic to the Lord Howe Island Group in the Tasman Sea.[1][2]

Panesthia lata
Female Lord Howe Island cockroach (Panesthia lata) from Blackburn Island
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Blattodea
Family: Blaberidae
Genus: Panesthia
P. lata
Binomial name
Panesthia lata
Walker, 1868

Appearance and diet edit

Panesthia lata is reasonably large, growing between 22–40 millimetres (0.87–1.57 in).[3][4][5] It is metallic in colour, with general black to reddish colouration.[3][4] It can be distinguished from other related species by its abdominal morphology and the shape of its cerci.[1]

The species feeds on rotting wood and leaf litter, and has micro-organisms in its digestive system to help break down cellulose.[3][5] It stays in the ground during the day and feeds at night.[5]

Population edit

While once widespread across the archipelago, it was removed from Lord Howe Island proper by rats introduced in 1918, and none had been found for over 80 years.[1][3][4] Today, the largest known populations occur on nearby islets, including Blackburn Island, Roach Island and Ball's Pyramid.[1][5] The species is classified as "Endangered" under the New South Wales Threatened Species Act, and a plan exists to eventually reintroduce a population to Lord Howe Island.[6]

Taxonomy edit

Panesthia lata was first described in 1868 by Francis Walker in his "Catalogue of the specimens of Blattariæ in the collection of the British Museum".[4][7][8] It is in the subfamily Panestheiinae, which is distributed across Southeastern Asia and Oceania.

Rediscovery on Lord Howe island edit

After not having been observed on Lord Howe Island for over 80 years, a biology student at the University of Sydney rediscovered them on the island in late 2022.[3][5]

References edit

  1. ^ a b c Carlile, Nicholas; Priddel, David; O'Dwyer, Terence (2017-07-11). "Preliminary surveys of the endangered Lord Howe Island cockroachPanesthia lata(Blattodea: Blaberidae) on two islands within the Lord Howe Group, Australia". Austral Entomology. 57 (2): 207–213. doi:10.1111/aen.12281. ISSN 2052-174X. S2CID 90961355.
  2. ^ Australia, Atlas of Living. "Species: Panesthia lata (Lord Howe Island Wood-Feeding Cockroach)". Retrieved 2022-10-27.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Extinct wood eating cockroach rediscovered after 80 years". The University of Sydney. Retrieved 2022-10-27.
  4. ^ a b c d "Lord Howe Island wood-feeding cockroach (Panesthia lata) - endangered species listing". NSW Environment and Heritage. Retrieved 2022-08-23.
  5. ^ a b c d e Conversation, The (2022-10-07). "A Large, 'Extinct' Australian Cockroach Has Reappeared After More Than 80 Years". ScienceAlert. Retrieved 2022-10-28.
  6. ^ "Lord Howe Island wood-feeding cockroach (Panesthia lata) | Conservation project | NSW Environment, Energy and Science". Retrieved 2022-08-23.
  7. ^ "species Panesthia lata Walker, 1868: Cockroach Species File". Retrieved 2022-10-27.
  8. ^ British Museum (Natural History).; History), British Museum (Natural; Gray, John Edward; Walker, Francis (1868). Catalogue of the specimens of Blattariæ in the collection of the British Museum. London: Printed for the Trustees of the British Museum.Description on p. 24