December 1, 2007 (Vol. 27, No. 21)
Strong Points: Educational material
Weak Points: Molecular biological considerations would be welcome
If there’s a more unsavory member of many households than the cockroach, I shudder think would it would be. Though they may not be a welcome member of any kitchen, they are, as this site points out, an interesting organism for laboratory research and education. For example, the Madagascar Hissing Cockroach is always a student favorite and their gentle nature makes them perfect for students to handle. Developmentally, cockroaches are of interest in that their growth can be synchronized by feeding. Related to termites, cockroaches are asocial, whereas the former are social. Biologically, their exquisitely sensitive hairs allow them to detect rapid air movements and cue an escape mechanism. You can learn of all these tidbits and more (including an extensive list of researchers who work on these rather unpalatable organisms) at The Cockroach Home Page.