The Myth Of The Albino Cockroach

Today I found buried in the soil, among a few creepy crawlies . . . what looked like an albino Sand Cockroach. Sand cockroach (Arenivaga)Sand cockroaches (Arenivaga) are also known as desert cockroaches, and their primary habitat is beneath the surface of soil.Sand cockroach (Arenivaga)Although the appearance of Sand cockroaches may vary from species to species, the females found in the soil of our yard are black, wingless, and oval-shaped. The roach I found today seemed to be an albino. Sand cockroach (Arenivaga)However, I read here, that albino cockroaches are only a myth. Information on that site states:

“Insects believed to be albino cockroaches are actually newly molted cockroaches. Sand cockroach (Arenivaga)When a roach outgrows its exterior casing, known as the cuticle, it splits the cuticle and sheds it. The soft skin beneath appears white. Within a few hours, the new cuticles will harden and darken, appearing more like the typical coloration of its species. In some species, this molted exterior serves as a food source for both nymph and adult roaches.”

Also . . .
“Cockroach nymphs emerge from the ootheca through the use of collective force. These newly hatched pale nymphs are only briefly pale. The number of molts a cockroach nymph undergoes varies by species. With each progressive molt, the cockroach nymph appears more and more like its adult counterparts.”

Sand cockroach (Arenivaga)I also read elsewhere, that we cannot rely on the colour we observe on Sand cockroaches. These insects sequester pigments from their food and therefore their colour depends on their diet; they also accumulate uric acid in varying amounts, and this may also affects their appearance. Sand cockroach (Arenivaga)

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