Entomology Archives

June 14, 2005

The Accidental Entomologist - Cockroaches, Stinkbugs, Oh My!

Yahoo likes this site more than Google does. How do I know this? Looking at my webserver log I can see what search queries led them to this page. Ever since I wrote a post about Johanna Rothman's disparaging the use of the term "bug" for defects it seems that about half of the searches are about African Millipedes and the like. For example today someone was searching for the difference between cockroaches and stinkbugs. To use this to find out how the different search engines like me I plugged the search into Yahoo and my site is number 3. I can't even find where I end up on Google.

But I feel bad when someone comes here with a question that isn't answered so here is my best effort at answering it. May it be useful in the future:

Cockroaches are members of the order Blattodea. Within this order there are 6 families Blattidae, Cryptocercidae, Polyphagidae, Nocticolidae, Blattellidae, and Blaberidae. Within the Blattidae family is the familiar and despised Periplaneta americana or "American Cockroach".All cockroaches have the following characteristics:

  • Oval and flattened body shape
  • Thorax covered by a large plate (the pronotum), which extends partly over the head
  • Chewing (mandibulate) mouthparts
  • Compound eyes and 2 simple ocelli-like spots
  • 2 pairs of membranous wings when present. Forewings are more sclerotised than hind wings. Wings are folded left over right when at rest
  • Prominent cerci
  • Long antennae

    Stink bugs are in the Family Pentatomidae. This is part of the sub-order Heteroptera, also known as "true bugs". True bugs all have

  • Sucking mouths
  • Flat and soft bodies (most commonly)
  • Forewings are tough on the base area and have membranous tips.
  • Antennae are well developed with up to five segments.

    Most of them are from small to medium size. Most species of true bugs have stink glands. These glands usually give off a foul odor when the insect is disturbed. All of them suck juice from plants or other insects.

    Stink bugs are distinguished from other true bugs by their 3rd thorax, or the triangular scutellum, which is well extended to cover half of their back, but not covering the whole abdomen. Their legs are thin and with no spines. The antennae are four or five segmented. Their body are usually in shield-shaped. Nymphs look similar to their adults except they are wingless.

    Hmmm... I didn't know that about true bugs. Personally I think true bugs are cuter and more cuddly than cockroaches. Cockroaches seem to be quite interesting and perhaps more complex, but also more prone to riding Harley Davidsons. I'll have to check into where the ladybug falls into the scheme of things. They are cuter than either and do a good job of munching aphids. Kind of a best-of-both-worlds bug.

    If you have any other questions you want answered leave a comment and I'll do my best to find an answer. That is unless your question is stupid and boring.

    (Note: There is tons of bug data on the web. Plug the order or family names in the article above into any search engine and you will find more details than you ever wanted. Or you might end up here.)

  • May 15, 2006

    Exercising Influence - Cockroach scented robots

    This probably belongs on my other site ( but I haven't added anything here for a while...and I want to keep my readers entertained. Anyway, apparently someone has invented a sort of pied piper for cockroaches. A tiny robot doused with cockroach pheromones which can dare the other cockroaches into outrageous (for them) behavior. The article can be found here; The first thing that came to mind when I read this was human teenagers...

    June 27, 2006

    Project Management takes a Summer Vacation

    Not sure if the other project management writers are on a permanent vacation or not, but I haven't seen much in the way of new work in the past month or so.


    Personally I've just been resting on a branch waiting for the winds to start blowing again.

    In the mean time, if you are bored, take a close look at the bugs.

    About Entomology

    This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Project in the Entomology category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

    Dendrology is the previous category.

    Ichthyology is the next category.

    Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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