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Science rebuffs myth that cockroaches are radiation proof


Cockroaches are widely used in scientific research and experiments. Cockroaches are widely used in scientific research and experiments.
Scientists say that humans have a biased view of the most repugnant insect - the cockroach. Not all species of cockroaches are pests. In fact, these group of insects have a diversity of forms, and some are used for medicinal purposes. Although cockroaches can withstand up to 10 times more radiation than humans, they are not immune to it.


George Beccaloni, curator of orthopteroid insects at the Natural History Museum in London, said that there are about as many cockroach species as there are mammals, and only 30 of the known 5,000 species have pest-like tendencies. He explained that these insects live in many diverse environments, so they come in various shapes and sizes.

While most people consider cockroaches as obnoxious creatures, China values these insects for their medicinal purposes. Liu Yusheng, a professor at the Shandong Agricultural University, considers them as miracle drugs. She previously told The Telegraph that cockroaches work a lot faster than ordinary medicine in curing some ailments.

Cockroaches have also been a preferred subject for science research and experiments. Their exoskeletal wings have inspired several robot designs. For years now, scientists have also been studying cockroach legs to design human prosthetic legs.

It is through the study of their biological make-up that scientists were able to discover that cockroaches do have a weakness; radiation. Beccaloni told BBC News that "Cockroaches are only about five times more resistant [than humans]," when hit outright by 10 grays of radiation. Other species can survive ten times as intense as that which makes rank the lowest in terms of radiation tolerance for insects.

By Angel Soleil