Beijing: Scientists have discovered three new species of giant cockroach that can reach up to 3 cm in length in China.

More than 4500 species of Cockroach (Blattodea) are known to scientists. Cockroach fossils date back around 400 million years, testifying to their great adaptability and endurance which makes them one of the planet's great survivors.

The newly discovered cockroaches belong to the genus Pseudophoraspism and were named Pseudophoraspis clavellata, Pseudophoraspis recurvata and Pseudophoraspis incurvata.

They belong to the cockroach family Blaberidae, known also as giant cockroaches. Although the adults of the newly described species can reach a size of around 3 cm in length, they are still some of the smallest representatives in the family.

For comparison, the females of the largest species known, Blaberus giganteus, can reach up to 10 cm in length. The heaviest species, Macropanesthia rhinoceros, also known as the rhinoceros cockroach, reaches only around 8 cm but can weigh a remarkable 35 grammes.

All of the known species of the genus Pseudophoraspis, to which the three newly described ones belong, were reported from Southeast Asia and South Asia, with Vietnam considered the north boundary of their territory.

The new record of the cockroach genus Pseudophoraspis along with three recently discovered ones in China's provinces Hainan, Yunnan and Guangxi, however, considerably expands the reach of the genus to the North.

"All of the known species were reported from Southeast Asia and South Asia, and the previously known boundary of this genus would be Vietnam," said researcher Dr Zongqing Wang from the Institute of Entomology, Southwest University, China.

"We found three new species from China, located in Hainan, Yunnan and Guangxi Provinces respectively, which extends the range of the genus Pseudophoraspis northward," Wang said in a statement. The study was published in the open access journal ZooKeys.


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