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Study compares living habits of cockroaches to New Yorkers
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Study compares living habits of cockroaches to New Yorkers

Study compares living habits of cockroaches to New Yorkers
Photo Credit: Ken-Yon Hardy
Two Madagascan hissing cockroaches sit on the hand of Kate Olukalns, coordinator for the Cincinnati Zoo's Wild Encounters. The two cockroaches were part of the "Africa" exhibit in July 2013.

Study compares living habits of cockroaches to New Yorkers

Apparently cockroaches and New Yorkers aren't all that different, and no, that's not an insult. Bear with us.

According to a new study the creepy crawlers have a tendency to spend their lives in the neighborhood they grew up in, and segregate themselves into areas where similar cockroaches live. (Via National Geographic)

Which isn’t a far cry from human New Yorkers, many of which spend their lives in the Big Apple and divide themselves up by ethnicity and income. (Via New York Post.

According to a Senior Research Associate at Rockefeller University, and member of the National Cockroach Project: “Once they move in, they don't leave. This is a window into cockroach society and it is very much like our own.” (Via Wall Street Journal)

Now that’s not to say there’s a Puerto Rican cockroach neighborhood, or Little Italy for that matter, but the research did show different areas of New York come with genetically-different cockroaches.

Like 80% genetically-similar cockroaches on the Upper West Side, and 90% genetically-similar cockroaches on Roosevelt Island. (Via Google Maps)

Now, if you think the conclusions of this study are a little bit strange, how they got there is arguably even weirder.

Samples of the little pests were mailed into Rockefeller University, from mostly New York but also all over the world — even Australia.  (Via Wikimedia Commons / Zgori)

Then the now-dead, and often-squished, bugs were examined in a lab — sometimes by scientists who weren’t any more thrilled to be around the insects than the rest of us would be. (Via BBC)

One lab worker told LiveScience, “I am a little grossed out by roaches. Quite a bit, actually.” (Via LiveScience)

Disgust aside, the researchers found another similarity of the roaches to humans — how they got here. 

As WNBC reports “The smaller German cockroach is believed to have come to the U.S. with European immigrants, while the larger American roach is thought to have come from Africa aboard slave ships.” (Via WNBC)

And a different study found a way humans might want to be more like roaches — by laying off the sweets.

The University of North Carolina study found that some cockroaches have evolved to dislike the taste of sugar — a feature that helps them avoid sweet-tasting poison traps. 

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