The Florida woods cockroach, Eurycotis floridana, is a predominant cockroach species found in the United States near the Gulf of Mexico. It is a large species of cockroach measuring 30 to 40 cm in length. It is not a major pest but is mostly known for its defensive capability. Other closely related species, Eurycotis lixa is also found in the United States.
• Florida cockroach
• Florida woods cockroach
• Florida stink roach
• Skunk cockroach
• Palmetto bug (This name is also used for the Australian cockroach)
Morphology of the Florida Woods Cockroach
Florida woods cockroaches are relatively large species as compared to other species of roaches. Adults of Eurycotis floridana have a length of 30 to 40 mm. The color varies depending on where the species is found. It can be reddish brown or black. Adults of both sexes do not have functional wings although small wing pads can be seen on them but they are incapable of flying. They generally move slowly as compared to other cockroach species.
Behavior and Diet of Eurycotis floridana
The Florida woods cockroach is a peridomestic species that is typically found near houses. Most often they are found in storage areas, greenhouses and electric meter boxes. Occasionally this species may be found in homes where they typically look for food. They usually get into homes with firewood and other objects that are exposed outside for extended period of time. This cockroach species has a remarkable defensive capability. When threatened, the last instar nymph and adults spray a caustic and toxic substance that is irritating on soft tissues. Dogs and cats probably avoid them because of this toxic substance. They are slower in movement and prefer to live in damp locations. Occasionally they may move inside houses and are often found in bathrooms. In general this species prefer to live in warm locations and is cold-intolerant.
Life Cycle of Eurycotis floridana
This species can reproduce sexually and asexually (parthenogenesis). Females produce their first ootheca generally 55 days after reaching the adult stage even without mating. In the absence of fertilization eggs will undergo parthenogenic development. In this particular case most of the eggs will not be viable. The ootheca, 13 to 16 mm in length contain about 22 embryos. They often glue their egg cases onto a suitable substrate. It takes about 48 days for them to hatch into nymphs. Nymphs undergo about 7 molts before reaching the adult stage and it takes approximately 100 to 120 days to do so. The total time from eggs to adults is about 150 days. They can live for more than one year if conditions are favorable.
Distribution and Habitat of the Florida Woods Cockroach
It is believed that Eurycotis floridana is native of the Southeastern United States. It is typically found this part of the country, especially in Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and South Carolina. This species is mostly found in the Gulf of Mexico, in the Southeastern part of the United States. It is found in firewood piles, tree holes and attics.