"Star Wars" cockroach discovered

Added by: S. Ščepán, 9.3.2017, 666 visits

A group of scientists lead by Ľubomír Vidlička and Peter Vršanský of the Institute of Zoology of the Slovak Academy of Sciences has discovered what may be the strangest creature ever in Vietnam. It is a semitransparent cockroach with the largest head which from the front looks like a character from Star Wars. On its back it has a fully functional helmet composed of five parts (four wings and a huge gland), and hooked nipper - all serve to capture (mainly the head) females at eight locations during reproduction. Scientists speculate that they move together through caves with this "snapping" for bats.
"Morphologically it is probably the most bizarre cockroach and in general creature that has ever been discovered," explains the scientist. The cockroach which was found in the Vietnam Tan Phu tube cave is extremely small, partially transparent and with an extremely large head (probably the largest proportional head ever seen on a cockroach) and has extremely long legs. The most interesting part of the body is its rear with the aforementioned helmet. A non-invasive CT, carried out by Miroslav Hain at the SAS Institute of Measurement Science showed that its diet also differs from that of most cockroaches (fungal spores in the digestive tract).
The cockroach was found in what are quite young caves from a geological point of view - younger than 2.6 million years. "Although molecular analysis conducted by the Kúdels at Comenius University in Bratislava, points to the recent emergence of complex body structures," added P. Vršanský.
The third piece of evidence of the recent history of this complicated creature is the presence of pigment residue and fully pigmented residue from the eyes. This is a living species of cockroach and weakens the assumption of there being limited types of cockroaches, or their evolutionary constancy and stability. "Their pace of evolution is comparable to the fastest evolving beetles. They differ only in pace of diminishment, and this creates the impression of constancy, “says P. Vršanský. The results of these studies have been published in the Zootaxa journal and are being reviewed by one of the most prestigious scientific journals - New Scientist.
Andrea Nozdrovická

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Úkaz, ktorý vyzerá ako hlava šaša vpravo, je “helma” na zachytenie samičky na chrbte samca švába.