Life History and Habitat Associations of the Broad Wood Cockroach, Purcoblatta lata (Blattaria: Blattellidae) and Other Native Cockroaches in the Coastal Plain of South Carolina

Abstract

Wood cockroaches (Blattaria: Blattellidae) are important prey of the red-cockaded woodpecker, Picoides borealis Wilson (Piciformes: Picidae), an endangered species inhabiting pine (Pinus spp.) forests in the southern United States. These woodpeckers forage on the boles of live pine trees, but their prey consists of a high proportion of wood cockroaches, Parcoblatta spp., that are more commonly associated with dead plant material. Consequently, we sampled large woody debris, logs and standing dead trees (snags), in a South Carolina pine forest to determine densities of wood cockroaches in these habitats. Nearly 5O% of the 662 wood cockroaches we collected from woody debris were found in snags. However, when we estimated the number of wood cockroaches per hectare, we found that the two habitats contained approximately equal numbers because logs are more abundant than snags. The broad wood cockroach, Parcoblatta lata Brunner, was the most common cockroach on live pine boles constituting 46% of the wood cockroaches. Males were present from late April to late July in field studies suggesting that P. later has only one generation per year, which is consistent with laboratory studies in which males lived an average of 91.3 d. Female P. lata lived almost twice as long (158.2 d) and produced an average of 12.6 oothece/female (SE = 3.4) or ~517 offspring/female. Although P. lata were common on boles of live trees, our results show that snags and logs also are important habitats of these wood cockroaches in pine forests.

  • Citation: . . Life History and Habitat Associations of the Broad Wood Cockroach, Purcoblatta lata (Blattaria: Blattellidae) and Other Native Cockroaches in the Coastal Plain of South Carolina. Ann. Entomol. Soc. Am. 95(6): 665-671 (2002).

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