Turkestan Cockroach

Shelfordella lateralis
(Blatta lateralis)

Turkestan Cockroach, Shelfordella lateralis, photo © by Mike Plagens

Found in residential irrigated landscaping in Glendale, Arizona. July 2012. This is a male as evidenced by the long wings.

Blattoidea -- Cockroach and Termite Order

Turkestan Cockroach is a very common to abundant arthropod in Sonoran Desert urban settings. They live beneath rocks and leaves in areas where there is a reliable source of water, i.e. they are not to be found in the dry desert areas, although potentially they could survive in riparian situations.

Turkestan Cockroach infrequently enters homes in search of moisture or food. Unless there is water readily available they soon perish due to dehydration. The preferred habitat is outdoors where they feed mostly on fallen fruit, dead leaves, and bird/animal droppings. This is an introduced species from Asia.

The head is equipped with compound eyes and two very long, hair-like antennae. At the posterior end of the abdomen is a pair of projecting appendages called cerci (singular cercus). These are very sensitive to vibration or air movements and when stimulated the roach activates running away from light into a dark place.

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 25 July 2012,
updated 25 Oct. 2015.