Death's head cockroach

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Death's head cockroach
Totenkopfschabe ausgewachsen.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Blattodea
Family: Blaberidae
Genus: Blaberus
Species: B. craniifer
Binomial name
Blaberus craniifer

The true death's head cockroach (Blaberus craniifer) is a cockroach, often confused with the discoid cockroach and is a nice display insect for entomologists and hobbyists due to its striking jack-o-lantern marking on its pronotum (the shield like part above the head) and the black cloak like marking on its wings. Care for these animals is quite minimal and little odour is associated with them. They do give off a mild odour if significantly frightened, but the effect is generally brief. The name death's head comes from the markings on the top of the pronotum. Adults of B. craniifer have wings and can glide short distances but cannot fly, while juveniles do not have wings at all and prefer to burrow. This species also cannot climb smooth vertical surfaces, such as glass, which makes them easy to house in an open aquarium or similar.

Hybrid death's head cockroach (B. craniifer × B. fusca)[edit]

The hybrid death's head cockroach, sometimes called the brown-wing death's head, has become much more common than the true death's head for uses such as feeding tarantulas and lizards. They breed significantly faster than the true death's heads and typically get larger, sometimes over 7.5 cm (3.0 in). As juveniles, they are very hard to distinguish from the true death's head.


  1. ^ Burmeister, Hermann (1838). "Bl. craniifera". Handbuch der Entomologie. 2 (2). p. 516. 

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