Orthopteroid Insects
Cockroach Biology
Australian Cockroach
Common Methana
U-marked Methana
Pale Woodland  Cockroach
Oval Woodland Cockroach
Black Woodland Cockroach
Reddish-brown Cockroach
White-tailed Cockroach
Austral Ellipsidion
Small Ellipsidion
See-through Ellipsidion
Beautiful Ellipsidion
Balta Cockroach 1
Balta Cockroach 2
Balta Cockroach 3
Orange-brown Cockroach
Shelford's Cockroach
Surinam Cockroach
Bark cockroach
Mottled Cockroach
Wood Cockroach


Australian Wood Cockroach - Panesthia cribrata

Family Blaberidae

This page contains pictures and information about the Australian Wood Cockroaches that we found in the Brisbane area, Queensland, Australia.

Body length 40mm
This cockroach has dark brown to black colours body and short spiny legs. They can be found under moist fallen rotten logs. They live in and feed on decaying wood that they burrow into. They are slow moving. Notice their shiny exoskeleton and spiny legs. The adults are winged but they chew each other's wings off and become wingless. 
wpe17.jpg (44610 bytes) Blaber3.jpg (42640 bytes)
They are easily found in moist area in Eucalyptus forests in Brisbane, including the Karawatha Forest and Daisy Hills. Every time we lifted up a rotten log on ground. We always saw a group of cockroaches, usually from five to ten. 
wpe1A.jpg (61298 bytes) wpe1E.jpg (59391 bytes) DSC_1882.jpg (491317 bytes)
After taking a few pictures and having a good look, we always put the logs back into position to minimize the interrupt to those cockroaches.
DSC_1883.jpg (405475 bytes) DSC_1881.jpg (477917 bytes) DSC_1880.jpg (411106 bytes)
We found the above large Wood Cockroach in Ford Road Conservation Area on Mar 2011. The cockroach was hiding under bark near the base of a large gum tree trunk. 
DSC_2989.jpg (505473 bytes) DSC_2990.jpg (501889 bytes) DSCN5022.jpg (466110 bytes)
The abundant wood-eating wood cockroaches are very important in the breakdown of logs in the wet forests. Unlike the other wood feeding cockroaches which have the intestinal protozoa to digest wood cellulose, the Wood Cockroaches utilise amoebae and bacteria to digest the cellulose they eat. 
DSC_2970.jpg (415326 bytes) DSC_2971.jpg (433052 bytes) DSCN4039.jpg (347701 bytes)
This nymph, body length 5mm, was doing the 'play dead' trick to cheat predators. It slowly turned over and merged into the dirt after a minute.   
DSC_3064.jpg (524355 bytes) DSC_3154.jpg (435289 bytes) 
In the above 1st and 2nd photos, notice the very small young cockroaches around and on the adult cockroaches. Photos were taken on May 2011 in Ford Road Conservation Area.  
DSC_3060.jpg (507648 bytes) DSC_3061.jpg (519650 bytes) DSC_3062.jpg (548542 bytes)
Australian Wood Cockroaches are in sub family Panesthiinae As all cockroaches in the subfamily, nymphs born alive. Nymphs are golden brown to dark brown in colours. 
DSC_3063.jpg (502543 bytes) DSC_3065.jpg (490096 bytes) DSCN5018.jpg (411115 bytes)
Australian Wood Cockroaches live in group. Those cockroaches have some communal organization and they are usually found in groups under rotten logs. Chemical cues appear to play an important role in the association preferences. They seem able to use the chemical cues distinguish between different groups.
Before we thought this species was the Panesthia australis. After checking the reference materials we believed this is the Panesthia cribrata. Both species have the same common name Australian Wood Cockroaches. Both species are widely spread in the east coast of Australia. The P.cribrata is more common  in Queensland.

1. Insects of Australia, CSIRO, Division of Entomology, Melbourne University Press, 2nd Edition 1991, p329 (synonym Panesthia laevicollis).
2. Grasshopper Country - the Abundant Orthopteroid Insects of Australia, D Rentz, UNSW Press, 1996, p228, plate362.
3. Family BLABERIDAE - A.M.E. Roach & D.C.F. Rentz, CSIRO Entomology, Australian Faunal Directory, Australian Biological Resources Study. 
4. Chemical cues and group association preferences in a subsocial cockroach, Panesthia australis - Billingham, Z.D., Chapple, D.G., Sunnucks, P., and Wong, B.B.M. (2010), Australian Journal of Zoology 57, 385390. 

Back to Top

Up ] Surinam cockroach ] Bark cockroach ] Mottled Cockroach ] [ Australian Wood Cockroach ]


See us in our Home page. Download large pictures in our Wallpaper web page. Send email to us. A great way to support us is to buy the CD from us.   
Last updated: May 08, 2011.