There are over 4,000 species of cockroaches and only about 4 species are classified as pests to humans. Cockroaches are distributed worldwide in temperate and tropical environments, although they tend to be larger-bodied in the tropics. Most species are nocturnal scavengers, which use their chewing mouthparts to eat whatever food they can find. They have appendages at the back of their body called cerci, which are very sensitive to vibrations. Cockroaches lay their eggs in egg cases called ootheca. They are closely related to preying mantises.
Giant Pepper Cockroaches
Giant pepper cockroaches can be found throughout Central and South America. They generally live for 1–2.5 years. This species doesn’t fly, but they may flutter their wings in order to increase their jumping distance. They can also make clicking sounds. Young giant pepper cockroaches will spend most of their time buried in the substrate, but when they are in their last juvenile stage, they begin to spend more time above-ground, and are then referred to as sub-adults.
Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches
Madagascar hissing cockroaches are from the island of Madagascar and are best known for their hissing. The hissing sound is a defense mechanism that scares predators away. They are one of the largest species of cockroaches and can live for up to 5 years. Females carry their egg cases, or ootheca, inside their body until the eggs have hatched and then give birth to live young. This species is wingless as adults, so they don't fly, but they are excellent climbers. They can even climb smooth glass, so as pets they can be especially good escape artists.